We’ve all heard of the zodiac, and have probably on more than one occasion checked our daily horoscope in the hope it will reveal what the future holds. When I sat down to write this blog I was buoyant in the revelation that my day was going to be “filled with love and joy”.
But perhaps lesser known in Western culture is the Chinese Lunar Calendar and the 12 animals that represent it.
The Chinese Lunar Calendar
More commonly known as the Chinese Zodiac, it is believed the Chinese Lunar Calendar begun around 2600 B.C. and is related to the worship of animals in Chinese culture. Legend has it before departing to the next life, Buddha asked every animal on the planet to comfort him and the twelve animals (including the dragon, tiger and rat) that responded are now honoured in the lunar calendar that spans 12 years – one animal for every year.
Much like the Western Zodiac, your lunar animal sign depends when you’re born. And people born in specific lunar years are believed to have certain personality traits and characteristics related to their animal.
Turns out I was born in the Year of the Sheep – so I’m creative, compassionate and friendly. I’d say that’s fairly accurate, though I’m not sure I agree that I like to spend my money on fashionable things… you win some you lose some!
The incredible popularity of Lunar Coins
For over 40 years mints from around the world have celebrated Chinese New Year with Lunar Coins. These issues have turned in to something of an international phenomenon, to the point where the lunar theme is the largest ongoing coin programme on the planet.
Most prestigious mints have a lunar series, including Australia, Canada, and of course our own Royal Mint. With each selling millions of ounces of gold and silver coins each year inscribed with the year’s relevant lunar animal.
Collectors will snap these coins up for a variety of reasons. Some collect their own lunar animal, because they like the personal connection, others will collect a particular specification because it’s especially limited. Personally, I find they also make great birthday gifts for obvious reasons – my friends love them.
The Year of the Rat
The 25th January 2020 will mark the Chinese New Year, and with it the next lunar animal will be celebrated – the Rat.
The Rat is in fact the first animal in the Chinese Zodiac, and people who are born under the sign of the Rat are thought to be intelligent and quick-witted with rich imaginations.
If this sounds like you the odds are you’re born under the sign of the Rat. And this year your lunar animal will be celebrated on lunar coins around the world.
What’s more, The Royal Mint has just released their brand new Year of the Rat range, including what’s perhaps the most sought-after specification of all – the 1oz Silver Proof Coin.
Apparently Rats are known for taking good advantage of opportunities presented to them – so what are you waiting for, make sure you snap up your lunar coin today!
If you’re interested…
You can own the BRAND NEW Royal Mint Lunar Coin TODAY – the 1oz Silver Proof Year of the Rat coin.
This coin is sure to be the most sought-after yet because not only is the 1oz Silver Proof a key specification for collectors, it’s also got the lowest edition limit yet!
Last month we heard through the whispers of the forest that the UK’s favourite orange-eyed and purple-prickled creature is returning!
And now the critters have informed us that he will be emerging from the deep dark wood on 17th October!
Our woodland sources also confirm he will be proudly featuring on a BRAND NEW 50p coin.
So if you want to be kept up to date, and be the first to know when the new Gruffalo 50p is available on 17th October, and what coins are available, just register your interest below.
Whilst we’re counting down til’ launch, let’s have a look at what happened the last time The Gruffalo was spotted in the wild…
On the 23rd March The Gruffalo celebrated its 20th birthday, and to mark this landmark publication anniversary a brand new UK 50p was released. This was the first time ever the popular children’s book character had appeared on UK coinage.
Since its first publication in 1999 Julia Donaldson’s famous monster has become a firm family favourite. Alongside the charming illustrations by Axel Scheffler, the now iconic story has been translated into 76 languages, sold over 13 million copies and graced TV screens in 2009 as an animation, the same year it was voted the UK’s favourite bedtime story.
To say the release was popular is an understatement, as fans and collectors alike were quick to snap up the coin. Collectors were so quick in fact that the silver and gold proof versions – with edition limits of 25,000 and 600 respectively – completely sold out at The Royal Mint within 12 hours of release.
This made it the fastest selling 50p to date!
No doubt the question on everyone’s lips now is what will happen when The Gruffalo returns? Will we see history repeat itself?
There’s only one way to find out – register your interest below!
For over 60 years Paddington, the famous bear from deepest darkest Peru, has been beloved by children and big-kids across the globe. Since Michael Bond gave him life in 1958, Paddington has featured in more than twenty books, including being translated into thirty languages and selling over thirty million copies worldwide!
On 11th April the Royal Proclamation confirmed that Paddington’s adventures in London would continue this year with two brand new 50ps.
And today, we’re delighted to reveal the brand new designs with you! Plus of course, letting you know how you can add these new UK 50p coins to your collection.
Paddington at the Tower
The first new design to be released today, 13th August 2019, features Paddington at his third iconic London destination – the Tower of London. You’ll see the most British of bears tucking in to his signature marmalade sandwich outside the famous fortress which is engraved in intricate detail.
This new 50p is available to own today in a range of specifications. Find out more about each of them below…
Paddington at the Tower Limited Edition Silver Proof 50p
This is the ultimate way to own this new Paddington coin! Thanks to the use of colour printing minting technology, everyone’s favourite bear, and his iconic red hat and blue coat, are brought to life perfectly in vibrant full colour detail.
Each coin has been expertly struck from .925 sterling silver to a perfect proof finish and is beautifully displayed in a contemporary Perspex block complete with bespoke Paddington themed packaging.
Importantly, just 25,000 single coins will ever be issued worldwide. Considering the rapid sell-out of The Gruffalo Silver Proof 50p that was released earlier this year with the same edition limit – 25,000 – collectors will need to be quick to secure one for their collection. You can order this limited edition coin for the Royal Mint issue price of just £65 (+p&p). Click here to secure yours >>
Paddington at the Tower Brilliant Uncirculated Collector’s Pack
The Royal Mint has also issued this coin in a special collector’s pack, including the coin in Brilliant Uncirculated quality. This finish is coveted by collectors as it means each coin is free from any marks you would find on circulated coins.
Each one is protectively encapsulated in its attractive official Royal Mint packaging to preserve its quality for generations to come. What’s more, you can secure this BU Pack at the Royal Mint issue price of just £10 (+p&p). Click here to order your pack >>
Paddington at St Paul’s
The second design to be revealed for 2019 – making it the fourth in the series – shows Paddington doffing his battered old bush hat (I suspect there is a marmalade sandwich hiding in there!) outside the iconic dome that’s instantly recognisable as St Paul’s Cathedral.
It has been confirmed this coin will be officially launched later in the year. But I’m delighted to offer you the opportunity to beat the queues and pre-order this coin today. Making you one of the first collectors in the country to secure one for your collection!
Paddington at St Paul’s Limited Edition Silver Proof 50p
Each coin comes beautifully presented and ready to display in its bespoke Royal Mint packaging. The coin is struck from .925 sterling silver to a perfect proof finish and features a charming full-colour image of Paddington at St Pauls.
Again, just 25,000 single coins will ever be issued worldwide. Given the record-breaking sell out of The Gruffalo Silver Proof 50p with the same edition limit, you really will need to act quickly to add this to guarantee you don’t miss out. You can secure this limited edition coin for the Royal Mint issue price of just £65 (+p&p). Click here to pre-order yours >>
All pre-ordered coins will be despatched after the coin has officially launched and is available for purchase worldwide on 12th September. If you pre-order your coin today you won’t be charged until the coin is despatched, meaning you pay no money now.
Paddington at St Paul’s Brilliant Uncirculated Collector’s Pack
The Royal Mint has also issued this coin in Brilliant Uncirculated quality. Collectors covet this finish as it means each coin is free from any marks you would find on circulated coins.
Each one is protectively encapsulated in its attractive original Royal Mint packaging to preserve its quality for generations to come. What’s more, you can secure this BU Pack at the Royal Mint issue price of just £10 (+p&p). Click here to reserve your pack >>
All pre-ordered coins will be despatched at a later date once this coin has officially launched and is available for purchase on 12th September. If you pre-order your coin today you won’t be charged until the coin is despatched, meaning you pay no money now.
Given the collecting frenzy generated by the release of the 2018 Paddington coins, it is highly advised that you secure your favourite coins from the range today. This is especially the case for the limited edition Silver Proof 50p coins which are renowned for their rapid sell-outs.