Royal Mints new £50 for £50 coin rounds out Shakespeares anniversary year

While the face value concept applied to precious metal coins has recieved increasing resistance this year, the mints, particularly the Royal Canadian Mint and the British Royal Mint continue to produce them. New out is the latters latest £50 for £50 design featuring that most highly regarded of writers, WIlliam Shakespeare.

It’s been 400 years since the Bard shuffled off this mortal coil, and in conjunction with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the Royal Mint has struck a range of coins which “celebrate every aspect of man and his timeless words“. A big chunky five ounce silver, and three bi-metallic £2 coins in gold and silver have done a good job representing Shakespeare in this important year.

Royal Mint designer John Bergdahl has crafted a two-mask composition representing the wide range of genres that the playwright wrote for. One of the masks features the almost Anonymous-like visage of Shakespeare smiling, representing comedy, while the other has a face of a much less pleasant disposition, representing tragedy. With some interesting inscription design in the surrounding border, it’s an atmospheric and well balanced piece.

Don’t expect fancy packaging with these given their nature. The coin comes mounted to a coloured and themed card, not a box. An ounce of fine silver in weight, the coin has its mintage limited to 15,000 – not a huge number for this type of coin. A very appropriate design for a Shakespeare coin, this is one of the best of its type we’ve seen from the Royal Mint for a while. Available to purchase now from the Royal Mint website.



At over 1,000 years old, and Britain’s oldest manufacturer, The Royal Mint must be one of the few organisations that can claim to have its products referenced throughout the works of Shakespeare. Royal Mint coins such as the halfpenny, farthing and noble have all taken their turn on the Shakespearean stage, in plays that include Much Ado About Nothing, The Merchant of Venice and the Merry Wives of Windsor.

It is not only The Royal Mint’s coins that are featured in Shakespeare’s works – one time Master of the Mint, nobleman William Hastings, appeared in Henry VI and also in Richard III, in which Shakespeare tells of his unfortunate demise.

Another coin with a link to Shakespeare – a commemorative £50 silver proof piece – has now been struck by The Royal Mint to mark the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death.  The coin is the grand finale in its 2016 circulating and commemorative coin series celebrating the works of the playwright. Featuring theatre’s comedy and tragedy masks to represent the range of themes covered by Shakespeare, the coin has been designed by renowned sculptor and coin designer, John Bergdahl.

John Bergdahl said: “There is no definitive proof of how Shakespeare might have looked, but there is a popular perception, so I took inspiration from a black and white engraving to create the masks; for me the two faces summed up his genius.”




£50 UKP 0.999 SILVER 31.00 g 34.0 mm B / UNC  15,000 CARD / YES