In early November Britain’s Royal Mint released details of the eight commemoratives it has planned for 2016. They all concern the nation’s history in one way or another.
First up, and way ahead of the field, is the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. This will occur on April 21, 2016. On that day she becomes the first ever British monarch to reach this age. The Mint plans to celebrate the occasion with issue of a £5 coin. No doubt it will be struck in several versions.
Of course Her Majesty would not be on Britain’s throne if it had not been for that last successful invasion of the country. This occurred on England’s southern coast on Oct. 14, 1066. The 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings is being marked by the Royal Mint with issue of a BU cupronickel 50p.
Just 600 years later came the Great Fire of London. It changed the face of the city forever. The fire’s 350th anniversary will be commemorated with a BU bimetallic £2.
But when it comes to historic occasions, most collectors would agree that few beat out a numismatic one. In 2017 Britain will welcome its long-planned, more secure, dodecagonal (12-sided) £1 coin.
Consequently, in 2016 the Mint will bid a fond farewell to its round pound. A special edition will mark the old coin’s demise. On the impressive reverse Britain’s four heraldic animals cavort about St. Edward’s crown: England’s lion, Scotland’s unicorn, Wales’ dragon and Ireland’s stag.
And a certain playwright from Stratford is also being remembered. The 400th anniversary of Mr. Shakespeare’s death requires three coins. Admittedly all are all denominated at just £2. One celebrates The Bard of Avon’s comedies, one his historic plays and a third his tragedies. All three come as a set.
The British Army in World War I gets a BU £2 salute. In this instance the role of so-called “Pals” Battalions is remembered. In the early months of the war Lord Kitchener’s call to arms saw patriotic fervor sweep the country. Special units were formed by friends, neighbors and colleagues who served alongside one another.
Each of the above coins will bear the fifth definitive portrait of the queen by Royal Mint engraver Jody Clark.
This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express.
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More Collecting Resources
• Hunter? Naturalist? Purchase the 2014 World of Hunting – Red Deer silver coin to add a majestic coin to your collection.
• Come on down to the Chicago International Coin Fair in Rosemont, Ill. on April 14 to 17, 2016 to see impressive world coins, meet new collectors and participate in Heritage Auction’s fantastic coin auction.