It’s surprising, in this new digital age, just how ‘hands-on’ designing a coin is. In fact, it’s very much the job of a master craftsman.
Never was this more evident than when the Isle of Man Treasury chose to mark the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria with three new coins, each with a brand new portrait.
The man they turned to was renowned sculptor Luigi Badia and here’s the remarkable process of how these coins were developed.
First Stage – Pencil designs
Like most products across all industries, designing a coin starts with pencil sketches. These are then amended, potentially many times, until a final sketch is produced and approved.
Second Stage – Plaster modelling
The second stage is arguably the most visually stunning. The sculptor, Luigi Badia in this case, will turn their sketches into a 3D ‘Plaster’ design. The skill involved in this process is really very impressive as every tiny detail must be modelled.
The plaster is far larger than the actual coin size to allow for this detail to be captured. The design will be resized in the next step of the process.
Third Stage – Digital Modelling
It’s during this stage where technology has certainly helped the design process. The 3D ‘Plaster’ designs are scanned and a digital file, called a greyscale, is created.
An engraving machine then uses this file to cut the design into a piece of steel that’s the actual size of the final coin. This will then be used to make the dies that will actually strike the coins.
Fourth Stage – Coin Striking
This final stage is when the physical coin comes to life. The specially prepared die is used to ‘strike’ the design onto a metal ‘blank’. The metal used for the blank can vary widely, from cupro-nickel to silver and gold.
Only once the mint is perfectly happy with the quality of the struck coins will they be issued.
The Queen Victoria Silver Antique £5 Set
This set is the only way to own all three of these stunning, specially commissioned Antique Silver £5 Coins.
Just 495 of these stunning sets are available worldwide and exclusive to The Westminster Collection.
100 years ago this year, at 11 o’clock on 11th of November, the guns of war finally fell silent. The First World War was over.
While many fathers, sons, uncles and brothers came home, millions lay where they fell, on the Battlefields of Europe. Those who were lucky enough to be identified were placed in makeshift graves, often only identified by a rifle placed in the earth with his steel helmet placed on top as a final memorial.
To commemorate the Armistice Centenary, The Royal Canadian Mint have issued a remarkable new coin that honours each and every fallen soldier.
Struck in the shape of a WWI Brodie Helmet, it is more deeply curved surface than any other concave or convex-shaped coin I’ve seen before. The design is so unique in fact, that the Mint have kept the minting technique a closely guarded secret.
Although the original helmet would have been cast from Steel, this coin has been struck in the very finest .9999 or “four nines” silver, this is the purest grade of silver available. The Royal Canadian Mint is one of the very few Mints in the world with enough minting expertise able to strike coins with this incredible high relief finish. It’s an exceptional feat of craftsmanship.
What’s more the attention to detail is outstanding, each coin has been given a final antique finish and there are even engraved cracks and markings which complete the helmet’s battle-worn appearance. A reminder of the hardships endured by those who fought.
The amount of 2018 Silver ‘Helmet-Shaped’ coins available is very low. A worldwide edition limit of just 6,500 has been set by the Mint, but of course many of these won’t even make it out of Canada. Without any doubt, this has to be one of the most collectable issues ever struck.
The First World War will always be known as one of Man Kind’s darkest hours but poignant issues like this one allow us to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
If you’re interested…
We have just 500 WWI Lest We Forget Silver ‘Helmet-Shaped’ coins available for UK collectors, but to get one you’ll have to act quickly.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.