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Britain issues Churchill coin

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This year is the 50th anniversary of the death of Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, arguably the most renowned Briton of the 20th century. To mark the occasion the British Royal Mint has issued a two-coin memorial set that twins a new BU £5 coin with the original Churchill 1965 crown.

Effigy by Mark Richards on the reverse of the 2015 £5. Image courtesy Royal Mint.

Effigy by Mark Richards on the reverse of the 2015 £5. Image courtesy Royal Mint.

Churchill was twice Britain’s Prime Minister including the dark years of World War II. He was a soldier, artist, historian and writer. In 1953 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, “for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values.”

He was appointed a Knight of the Garter and Companion of Honor and in 1963 became the first Honorary Citizen of the United States by Act of Congress.

A 2002 BBC poll of a million viewers of the “100 Greatest Britons” saw Churchill ranked as “The Greatest of Them All.” And in 2007 Time Magazine considered him one of the most influential leaders in history.

On his death in 1965 the Royal Mint issued a crown, KM-910, with his effigy by Oscar Nemon. Fifty years down the track the new £5 piece shows him portrayed by Mark Richards.

In respect of his Churchill effigy he observed, “I wanted to capture something of Winston Churchill’s intensity, to create an active portrait, a sense of the man that you may have come away with had you met him. I thought the portrait created for the memorial coin in 1965 by Oscar Nemon couldn’t be bettered, so though I much admired it, I wanted to start afresh. I decided to create an image that is larger than the field of the coin – because this was a larger than life man, there was so much more to him than can ever be captured in one portrait”.

Churchill is the only British statesman to have been commemorated on two coins.

This article was originally printed in World Coin News.
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