The Royal Mint has revealed its design for the Lunar Year of the Monkey bullion coins – an eagerly anticipated annual event in The Royal Mint’s launch calendar following the release of coins for the 2015 Year of the Sheep and the 2014 Year of the Horse.
The Royal Mint’s Lunar Shēngxiào Collection, named to honour the Chinese zodiac, is a celebration of the UK’s diverse multi-cultural society, and lends a unique British angle to this ancient custom. Each lunar year is linked to one of 12 animals, whose traits are attributed to those born during that year. Celebrated annually – Year of the Monkey starts on 8 February in 2016 – it is a traditional time for exchanging tokens and gifts of money in red envelopes, symbolising good wishes for the recipient’s health, wealth and prosperity.
The Royal Mint’s lunar bullion coins are struck as limited mintage one ounce 999.9 fine gold coins, and one ounce 999 fine silver coins. These bullion coins will launch on 30 September 2015 and for the first time will feature the new fifth definitive coinage portrait of Her Majesty The Queen by Royal Mint engraver Jody Clark on its obverse. They are available to buy in tubes of 10 or 25 coins, dependent on the metal purchased.
British-Chinese artist and printmaker Wuon-Gean Ho, designer of The Royal Mint’s lunar horse and sheep coins, continues the series with the Monkey – a prominent and popular figure in Chinese culture, believed to symbolise luck, honour and wealth. For centuries, it has featured in the blessing of babies, and is displayed at ports to wish sailors a safe journey. In ancient towns, monkeys were carved into the posts where horses would be tethered, thought to protect them from disease.
Those born in the Year of the Monkey are thought to be energetic, quick-witted and sociable, who enjoy applying their appetite for knowledge to creativity and problem solving.