This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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Six geese a-laying appear on the reverse of a new Isle of Man Christmas 50 pence coin.
The new coin portrays the sixth verse of the favorite traditional festive carol The Twelve Days of Christmas.
A portrait of Queen Elizabeth 11, who is Lord of Man, is on the obverse.
According to Pobjoy, the Christian tradition of celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas, starting on the Dec. 25 through to the morning of Epiphany on Jan. 6, is based on a sequence of verses in the Bible (Matthew 2:1-12) and the belief that the Three Kings took 12 days to travel to Bethlehem after first seeing the Jesus Star.
It was also medieval tradition to celebrate 12 days for Christmas, starting on Christmas Day with the Yule log being dragged in on Christmas Eve and kept alight for 12 days. It was thought to be bad luck if the log went out within the 12 days.
The sixth day of Christmas is Six Geese A-Laying and is meant to represent the Six Days of Creation that confesses God as Creator and Sustainer of the World. This crafted 50-pence coin is the sixth in this series, following on from the 2005 Partridge in a Pear Tree, the 2006 Two Turtle Doves, 2007’s Three French Hens, 2008’s Four Calling Birds and last year’s Five Gold Rings.
The coin is available in cupro-nickel with diamond finish and proof sterling silver with both versions presented in a complementary Christmas card. They are also available as colored coins, which helps bring this well known carol to life. In addition, this coin is issued in .9167 fine gold and packaged in a presentation box to make the perfect Christmas gift.
Pobjoy says the coins are manufactured to the highest quality and the precious metal versions are struck four times to produce a mirror-finish background with the design sculpted in striking relief.
Approved by Buckingham Palace, the obverse of the 50p bears an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II designed by Ian Rank-Broadley.
All three versions of the coin have a diameter of 27.30mm and weigh 8 grams.
The cupro-nickel version in diamond finish has a mintage limit of 30,000.
The proof sterling silver coin has a mintage limit of 5,000.
Mintage limit for the proof gold version is 250.
Seven swans a-swimming is the theme of a specially privy marked 1/20th ounce gold angel from the Isle of Man.
Every Christmas the Isle of Man releases a 1/20th ounce angel with a privy mark on its reverse to reflect the 12 Days of Christmas theme. The 2010 Christmas angel design features both traditional and new design elements, according to Pobjoy.
Since medieval times, angel coins bearing the design of Archangel Michael slaying the Dragon have been thought to bring good luck and health to the bearer.
The year 1984 saw the release of Pobjoy Mint’s first gold angel, which depicted a classical image of St. Michael with heavily feathered wings astride the fiery Dragon. A Celtic band around the rim was broken at the top of the coin with an image of the Isle of Man Triskeles. The 2010 design combines the classical appeal of the original design, including elements such as the Celtic band and feathered wings, and a powerful modernized image of St. Michael slaying the Dragon. A repetition of the Triskeles symbol also appears in the centre of the St. George’s cross on the shield.
This collection will continue for the remaining five years to complete the carol. The coin is legal tender, proof, struck in .9999 gold. It has been approved by Buckingham Palace and bears a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank-Broadley on the obverse.
Each gold coin is struck four times to produce mirror-finish background with the design sculpted in striking relief.
The .9999 fine 1/20th ounce gold coin has a diameter of 15mm and weighs 1.555 grams. A maximum of 1,000 pieces will be sold.
To view these coins and other Pobjoy products, go the firm’s website at www.pobjoy.com.