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 plant 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!
Can you believe that this year marks the 50th anniversary since the very FIRST Moon Landing?
50 years since Neil Armstrong took the first ever steps on the Moon’s surface and spoke those famous words: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”
To this day, it is not only considered as one of mankind’s greatest ever achievements but also one of the most important moments in history.
There have been a number of incredible coins released across the world to celebrate this 50th anniversary and unsurprisingly collector demand has been extremely high.
If you’re yet to secure the perfect piece to commemorate the occasion then I have some good news! As I’ve spent some time looking through the new releases and have handpicked my top 5 Moon Landing 50th Anniversary coins. Read on to find out why each of them would make a great addition to any collection…
The FIRST EVER British Isles Black Proof £5 Coin
Now what makes this coin particularly special, is the fact that it is the FIRST EVER Black Proof British Isles coin to be issued. This is an extremely rare finish to feature on any coins and it has as such proven a hit with collectors.
Adding to this is the selective colouring that has been used to highlight the design which contrasts magnificently against the black proof finish. Images really don’t do it justice! Only 995 coins have been issued worldwide, a significantly low amount given the occasion. Order yours today to avoid missing out >>
The Silver Proof £5 Coin with one of the most striking designs ever seen…
This new Isle of Man Silver Proof £5 Coin has just been authorised for release by the Palace and features one of the most striking designs I’ve ever seen.
Struck to the official UK £5 Silver specification, the reverse features an Astronaut with a reflection of planet Earth in the visor which is brought to life in full colour detail. It is coin craftsmanship at its very best. Find out more about this official release here >>
Introducing the FIRST EVER Plateau Minted Coin
This is an opportunity to own a collecting first – the Moon Landing 50th Anniversary Plateau Minting Coin. If you’re wondering what plateau minting is, let me explain. Domed coins have been around for some time now, but never before has a Mint succeeded in successfully striking a plateau area on the peak of the dome. That is until now!
But that’s not all. As the coin has been struck with a variation of sophisticated techniques and finishes, in particular the skilful alignment of both Proof and Matt finishes. You really have to see this coin to fully appreciate it. Take a more detailed look by clicking here >>
The ULTIMATE Space Collection – featuring EIGHT Moon Landing coins!
If one single coin is not enough, then I have the perfect solution for you. This is perhaps the ULTIMATE Space collection, featuring eight commemorative coins that have been issued from across the world.
It’s difficult to not be instantly impressed when you open the deluxe wooden presentation case. As you’ll find a mix of modern coins with special minting techniques, historic coins and even some intriguing designs like you’ve never seen before. This is certainly one not to miss, especially as it comes complete with an Apollo 11 commemorative plaque! Click here to find out more about this incredible collection >>
Chance to own the WORLD’S FIRST domed coin presented in a Silver Bar
Much like Apollo 11, this new commemorative is a WORLD FIRST. As this is the first time a domed coin has been set into a solid 2oz Silver Bar – the combination of different minting techniques on display is out of this world.
Not only that, but the US Silver Proof Moon Landing Dollar featured in the Silver Bar is the second ever in the Mint’s history to be curved – one side is domed, the other concave. The first commemorative curved coins to be minted by the US completely sold out in less than two weeks – and all signs suggest this will prove just as popular.
There’s so much more to tell about this incredible piece so click here to find out all about it. But please note, we have just 50 available exclusively for our UK collectors so you’ll need to be quick if you’d like to secure one for your collection.
But that is by no means all. We have a whole range of incredible coins and commemoratives that have been issued to celebrate this important 50th anniversary. You can take a sneak peek at some of the pieces below or check out the full range by clicking here >>
Last Saturday I had the opportunity to see the RAF’s most famous plane up close and personal. That’s because on the 24th March I drove up to the historic Duxford Aerodrome to have 800 of the brand new Spitfire £2 coins flown in an original WWII Spitfire.
I arrived at 9am but unfortunately the chance of flying was in doubt because of the poor visibility caused by low lying clouds. The rest of the morning was spent nervously looking at the sky waiting for enough visibility for the pilot to safely take the 74 year old warbird into the air.
Our pilot for the day was Flight Lieutenant Anthony Parkinson MBE, known as Parky. The delay caused by the weather gave me the opportunity to talk with Parky about his time in the RAF and how the Spitfire compares to the modern jets he has flown during his time with the RAF. You can see Parky discussing his career and the Spitfire in the video below.
The wait for take-off also gave me the opportunity to sit in the cockpit of the famous fighter plane and experience some of what it would have been like for the young pilots who sat in the same cockpit to defend Britain in the skies over 70 years ago.
Finally at 2.00pm the cloud cleared enough for a small pocket of visibility to take the Spitfire into the air. We quickly pushed the Spitfire out of the hanger and Parky secured the 800 Spitfire £2 coins into the wing bays which would have once held the plane’s armaments.
At 2.20 Parky prepared the plane for take-off. Standing a few yards from the plane whilst it’s famous Rolls Royce engine fired up was brilliant, and the Spitfire TD314 drew in a crowd nearby while it taxied along the runway.
Parky swiftly took the famous plane into the sky and gave me and the rest of the crowd a fly by. Despite the cloud cover it was still fantastic to see the Spitfire race through the sky at the hands of a former Red Arrows display pilot.
The brand new Spitfire £2 coin is a fantastic commemoration of the famous plane and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to mark the 100th anniversary of the RAF with such a fitting tribute.
Thank you to Ben Perkins, Flight Lieutenant Anthony Parkinson MBE and the rest of the team at Aerolegends for helping to take the Spitfire £2 coins to the sky and for giving me the opportunity to see this famous warbird in the flesh.
If you’re interested
All 800 coins have now been sold. However, we will soon be flying the 4 times as limited ‘signed edition’ Silver Proof £2. Click here to pre-reserve yours now >>