The ‘Enchantress of Numbers’, and early computing pioneer, Ada Lovelace, is the latest coin in the Innovation in Science collection

Ada Lovelace, born the daughter of the eminent poet Lord Byron, in 1815, was a brilliant mathematician and writer, often regarded as the world’s first computer programmer. Raised in a highly intellectual environment by her mother, Anne Isabella Byron, Ada showed early aptitude for mathematics. Her mentor, Charles Babbage, inventor of the Analytical Engine, recognized her talent and they collaborated closely.

In 1843, Ada translated an article on Babbage’s machine and added extensive notes, three times longer than the original text. Within these notes, she described a method for using the machine to calculate Bernoulli numbers, making her the first person to write an algorithm intended for implementation on a computer. Her visionary insights into the potential of machines extended far
beyond Babbage’s time, predicting that computers could manipulate
symbols and not just numbers, paving the way for modern programming.

The Royal Mint’s ‘Innovation in Science’ series has comprised both the heptagonal 50 pence format (John Logic Baird, Stephen Hawking, Rosalind Franklin, the Insulin Team, Charles Babbage and Alan Turing), and the bimetallic, but otherwise traditional, £2 coin (Alexander Graham Bell, Edward Jenner), and it is to the latter category that Ada Lovelace belongs.

This has always been a simplistic series as far as aesthetics go, choosing a highly stylised and symbolic look at the work the subject is most famous for. In the case of Ada Lovelace, designer Osborne Ross employs the punch-card used to program the Analytical Engine, alongside a quote she sent to her mother, describing how she saw herself, and her work. The obverse is the new Martin Jennings effigy of King Charles III.

Three variants in the range are struck in precious metal, a half-ounce 22 kt gold variant, formed in a mix of red and yellow gold, as well as a pair of sterling silver coins, each with an outer band that’s gilded, to ape the bimetallic look of the £2 circulating currency. One is 12 grams in weight, the other a piedfort tipping the scales at 24 grams. The coins will be available to order later today, and all are boxed with a COA.

COMPOSITION 0.9167 gold 0.925 silver 0.925 silver
WEIGHT 15.98 grams 24.0 grams 12.0 grams
DIMENSIONS 28.40 mm 28.40 mm 28.40 mm
FINISH Proof Proof Proof
MAX MINTAGE 85 760 1,760
R.R.P. £1,250.00 £127.50 £71.50