Coins

The First and the Last: George VI’s two Crown coins

George VI stands out as one of the most popular and interesting monarchs in British history.

After the shock abdication of his brother, he courageously led the country through World War Two and became a national hero. His story has since been famously portrayed in the Oscar winning 2010 film, The King’s Speech, and the popular TV series The Crown.

Just as interesting as his reign itself, were the coins that were issued during his 16 years on the throne. Only two Crown coins were issued, but both are extremely significant in British numismatic history and mark important changes for our coinage…

1937 Coronation Crown

UK George VI Crown Pair 1937 Crown Obverse Reverse - The First and the Last: George VI's two Crown coins
George VI 1937 Coronation Crown

It has been a tradition held by many British monarchs to issue a Crown coin in their coronation year, however, this tradition was a difficult one to maintain for George VI’s coronation in 1937.

That’s because it was decided that George VI’s Coronation would be on the same day that was planned for his brother Edward VIII before his infamous abdication. With a race against the clock to strike a coin for the Coronation, a new portrait was hurriedly prepared and quickly engraved before the ceremony.

What makes this coin so important for collectors is that it was the last ever Coronation Crown struck in Silver by The Royal Mint.

1951 Festival of Britain Crown

UK George VI Crown Pair 1951 Crown Obverse Reverse - The First and the Last: George VI's two Crown coins
George VI 1951 Festival of Britain Coin

The only other Crown coin issued during the reign of George VI was struck in 1951 to mark the Festival of Britain. To commemorate this hugely popular event, The Royal Mint decided to issue a brand new coin.

This specially issued coin was the first ever Crown struck in cupro-nickel and was the first Crown issued to commemorate a non-royal event.

Since this coin, The Royal Mint have issued many Crowns commemorating non-royal events of national significance and in doing so have created one of the most popular numismatic collecting themes internationally. This coin marks the start of this famous collecting trend that has transformed commemorative coins in Britain and across the world.

Both of these significant coin issues are now over 65 years old and as a result are becoming increasingly difficult to acquire.

However, I would consider them key coins for any Royal or 20th century coin collection because of the popular monarch that issued them and the important moments they mark for British numismatic history.


If you’re interested…

We have a limited number of George VI Crown Pairs available for collectors. However, with such limited stock available I suggest you act now if you want to add these two extremely significant coins to your collection.

UK George VI Crown Pair in Display Case 300x208 - The First and the Last: George VI's two Crown coins

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The Royal British Legion Armistice Medal – Inspired by veterans from Bravo 22 Company, created by Mint Editions

Mint Editions email logo - The Royal British Legion Armistice Medal – Inspired by veterans from Bravo 22 Company, created by Mint Editions

 

2018 marks 100 years since the day the Allies of World War I and Germany signed an armistice for the cessation of all hostilities on the Western Front. This took effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918.

For this special centenary year we have worked closely with The Royal British Legion, including five veterans from Bravo 22 Company, as well as numismatic artist Michael Guilfoyle, to design a poignant Armistice Commemorative Medal for the Centenary.

RBL 2018 Bravo 22 Armistice Medal Blog Images - The Royal British Legion Armistice Medal – Inspired by veterans from Bravo 22 Company, created by Mint Editions

Bravo 22 Company

Bravo 22 Company, which is made possible by The Royal British Legion and The Drive Project, has been successfully running theatre and art projects across the UK since 2011.

The projects are open to all members of the Armed Forces Community, including serving personnel, veterans and their family members and are designed to improve self-esteem, confidence and motivation, as well as help individuals along their paths to recovery.


The design process

The design process began with a creative workshop led by numismatic artist Michael Guilfoyle, at the Legion’s Pop In centre in Bristol. Five alumni from Bravo 22 Company were invited to join the workshop, all of whom have served in the Armed Forces. The participants were encouraged to draw on their experiences in the military to create a fitting tribute for the Armistice 100 year centenary anniversary.

 

 

Mike started the session with an introduction to medal design and explained the process from the initial ideas stage through to final production. Coins and medals generally offer a relatively small canvas to the artist, so Mike explained the importance of using a simple composition to create a strong and impactful design.

To generate some key themes, Mike had everyone write down words they associated with the First World War and Armistice. These were then used to inspire the visual design stage, where everyone began to sketch ideas.

The rest of the workshop was spent developing the rough sketches into more refined ideas.

RBL 2018 Bravo 22 Armistice Medal Blog Images8 - The Royal British Legion Armistice Medal – Inspired by veterans from Bravo 22 Company, created by Mint Editions

The finished design

Taking inspiration from the original designs of the veterans, Mike was able to create the striking and poignant designs that feature on the medal.

RBL 2018 Bravo 22 Armistice Medal Blog Images9 - The Royal British Legion Armistice Medal – Inspired by veterans from Bravo 22 Company, created by Mint Editions

If you’re interested: RBL 2018 Bravoo 22 Armistice Antique Medal Obverse Reverse - The Royal British Legion Armistice Medal – Inspired by veterans from Bravo 22 Company, created by Mint Editions

The Royal British Legion 2018 Armistice Medal is available to own today. Due to its significance, the medal has been issued in partnership with The Royal British Legion and Bravo 22 Company. If you choose to own one, we will ensure a donation is made to them on your behalf.

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Errors, Mules and Mis-strikes: Why the 2014 Year of the Horse Silver Coin is so sought after

We all have our favourite coins to collect, whether it be historic coins, special 50p designs or coins from around the world.

But one thing that piques the interest of almost all collectors, including myself, is the elusive ‘error’ coin.

 

Mule coins 300x297 - Errors, Mules and Mis-strikes: Why the 2014 Year of the Horse Silver Coin is so sought after

Examples of error coins – top: nickel brockage error, bottom: Indian 25 paise mis-strike

 

Considering the high levels of technology involved in minting coins and the number of different quality controls in place, it is extremely rare that a coin is minted with an error. And it is even rarer for an error coin to be released to the public.

However, over the years there have been sporadic cases of error coins being struck and issued to the public. Just a few things that would be considered an error would be an off-centre strike, a crack in the die or even use of the wrong die completely!

And that last one is exactly what happened to the 2014 Year of the Horse Lunar Silver Coin when it was incorrectly struck with the distinctive denticle obverse of the 2014 Britannia coin.

 

UK 2014 Chinese Lunar Year of the Horse Silver Five Pound Error Coin Set - Errors, Mules and Mis-strikes: Why the 2014 Year of the Horse Silver Coin is so sought after

Comparison of 2014 Year of the Horse error and non-error coin

 

After an investigation, it was discovered that approximately 38,000 Year of the Horse coins were struck with the incorrect denticled edge on the obverse. And once The Royal Mint confirmed this as a genuine error, these coins understandably became incredibly sought after.

 

N019 Year Of The Horse explanation - Errors, Mules and Mis-strikes: Why the 2014 Year of the Horse Silver Coin is so sought after

2014 Year of the Horse explanation of error

 

What makes these error coins particularly desirable is that, because it was issued as a bullion coin, many were sold around the world to coin dealers and investors. That means that they are much harder for the British public to track down. Plus, of course, in terms of pure numbers struck they are considerably scarcer than previous errors such as the ‘undated 20p’.

In fact, Ebay listings have seen the value of these coins soar to around 30 times their original value! So if you are lucky enough to own the 2014 Year of the Horse coin, I’d suggest you go and have a closer look at it!

 


If you’re interested…ImageGen 300x286 - Errors, Mules and Mis-strikes: Why the 2014 Year of the Horse Silver Coin is so sought after

We have a small number of the ‘Year of the Horse Silver Mule Sets’ available to buy. This set contains the Year of the Horse error coin alongside the correct version of the coin for easy comparison. This ‘mule’ is an absolute must for any collection and is extremely rare, so secure yours today.

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