For 953 years, Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London has stood on the north bank of the River Thames in central London.
It was constructed on the orders of William I shortly after his 1066 conquest of England, tucked into the southeast corner of London’s old Roman walls. If he was to retain his hold on England, William had to stamp his authority on London and its unruly populace prone to mob rule at the drop of a hat. The size and might of The Tower was effective in achieving this goal.
Today, The Tower is arguably one of the best known and most visited tourist destinations in the city.
On Dec. 3, Britain’s Royal Mint announced a set of four 2019 commemorative coin designs to celebrate some of the Tower’s ceremonies and legends. The first to be released recalls The Legend of the Ravens. Later issues will feature the Crown Jewels, Yeoman Warders, and the Ceremony of the Keys. Reverse designer of all four is Glyn Davies.
For the first time a special Tower “mintmark” features on an official UK coin. “Mintmark” is what the BRM press release calls it. Some readers may prefer another name given that the coins were struck in Wales.
Seven versions of the coin are available. Four are 38.61 mm £5s: a 28.28 g BU cupronickel, a 28.28 g .925 fine silver proof, a 56.56 g .925 fine silver piedfort, and a 39.94 g .9167 fine gold proof. In addition are a 65.00 mm, 156.295 g (5 oz) .999 fine silver proof £10, a 22.00 mm, 7.798 g (0.25 oz) .9999 fine gold £25, and a 50.00 mm, 156.29 g (5 oz) .999 fine gold £10 proof.
And in case anyone was wondering, Ravens have a long historical connection with The Tower of London. Check out Wikipedia, where much myth and fantasy is woven with a few facts.
Today, six Ravens with clipped wings are permanent residents of The Tower. Since World War II, these birds have been enlisted soldiers of the United Kingdom. Like soldiers and police, each has its own attestation card. And like soldiers, they can be dismissed for unsatisfactory conduct.
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