Jane Austen died on July 18, 1817. The bicentenary of her death will see Britain’s Royal Mint place a limited number of commemorative £2 coins in circulation at locations around Winchester and Basingstoke that have connections with the Hampshire author.
The mint has chosen to make the anniversary a celebration of the life of one of Britain’s best-loved writers. The release of the circulation coins will be accompanied by 28.40 mm bimetallic £2 silver and gold proofs, a silver piedfort proof, and a base metal BU version.
The 15.97 g gold proof has a core of 22 karat yellow gold and an outer rim of 22 karat red gold. The 12.00 g .925 fine silver piece has a gold plated rim. The 12.00 g BU coin comes with a core of cupro-nickel with a nickel-brass rim around. Mintages are 884, 8,000 and unspecified respectively, with 4,000 available of the silver piedfort.
The reverse design is the work of Royal Mint Graphic Designer, Dominique Evans. It features a silhouette of Austen set in a period frame against a backdrop of Regency wallpaper.
Evans commented, “From the first brief, through to the final design, it was a delight to research Jane Austen’s life in detail. I imagined her framed silhouette as if it were in one of the houses featured in her books, on the wall of a corridor as guests passed by to attend a dance, perhaps in ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ or on the wall in the home of ‘Emma.’”
The design was approved by leading Austen academic, Professor John Mullan.
From 1811 to her death six years later Austen produced four major novels: “Sense and Sensibility” (1811), “Pride and Prejudice” (1813), “Mansfield Park” (1814) and “Emma” (1815). Two others were published posthumously in 1818: “Northanger Abbey” and “Persuasion.” All were published anonymously and brought her little fame during her lifetime.
If collectors failed to score one of the circulation coins launched on July 18, additional examples will be issued across the UK later this year.
This article was originally printed in World Coin News. >> Subscribe today.
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