The Royal Mint has launched a new 50 pence celebrating diversity. This is the first U.K. coin to recognize and honor the power of the country’s diverse ethnic minorities to build a modern, prosperous Britain. This little coin takes a big step and as the Mint says, “marks a new era for British coinage, with more designs celebrating diversity and inclusivity set to follow.”
The Royal Mint is sparing no effort for this coin; “To support this landmark coin, The Royal Mint is working in partnership with the West India Committee to offer a school program exploring the diversity that built Britain, and marking Black History Month. The educational pack will be issued to every primary school in England and Wales, and explores stories of significant black figures in British history as well as including a ‘Diversity Built Britain’ 50p.”
That’s the kind of commitment to a program that we can all admire and strive to achieve in our business and personal lives. But the Royal Mint goes even further with an additional level of support. “A second education pack will encourage children to explore their own thoughts and feelings about diversity and to express themselves creatively, with links back to the coinage of Britain. Both education packs are available to download for free from royalmint.com/diversity”
As Anne Jessopp, CEO of the Royal Mint expressed it, “Britain’s history is rich and diverse. For more than 1,100 years, the nation’s story has been told through coins struck by The Royal Mint, a narrative carried in the pockets and purses of all its people. The contribution of ethnic minority communities has been such an important part of that story but has often gone unrecognised. This coin has been created to celebrate all the people who have made Britain what it is today. This is a very exciting development for us and the launch of this important coin coincides with Black History Month, signaling a change in U.K. coinage, one that I am personally delighted to pioneer.”
The Diversity Built Britain 50 pence was designed by The Royal Mint’s Dominique Evans who has created a number of high profile coins for the Mint, including the recent 75th anniversary of VE Day bimetallic 2-pound we reviewed in the June 2020 issue of World Coin News. As one of Britain’s foremost coin designers, Evans has brought great personality and grace into the creation of many of the Royal Mint’s recent products and now takes a major role in this new initiative.
Evans described her process in developing the new 50 pence, “When designing this coin, I began by thinking about the people who inspire me and what diversity has meant in my life. I believe that no matter where you are born, we all belong under the same sky and this was the starting point of the design.”
Evans went on to say, “My great love is generating ideas, though with a subject as important and personal as diversity, the idea should absolutely come out of understanding and research. I have my own account of the twists and turns in my life, but for this design it was crucial I look far beyond myself and across everyone and everything, listening to and imagining the difference of experience connecting us through our generations, genetics and lineage. The sense of the word ‘connection’ kept coming up in my research journey and I also kept feeling and seeing the stark reminders of fractured connections that can in stark contrast, separate and divide.”
After much research and contemplation, Evans decided on a very symbolic background, contrasting with a very direct legend. “The background of the coin features a geodome with a series of interconnecting lines and triangles that form a network. Each part is equal and symbolises a community of connection and strength. The words ‘DIVERSITY BUILT BRITAIN’ talks about the differences between us and the connection which gives us unity. The design also looks to the future, how we can connect, develop bonds, and grow stronger together.”
To read more about Dominique Evans’ unique approach in developing the Diversity Built Britain 50 pence, check out this great Royal Mint behind the scenes page at royalmint.com/stories.
It was a delight for me to learn that the Diversity Built Britain program has strong support from all levels of the British government. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said, “Congratulations to Dominique Evans the designer of The Royal Mint’s new 50 pence coin – ‘Diversity Built Britain.’ Her design is the first in a series of coins The Mint will be producing, celebrating those who have helped shape our national history and culture. I had the great pleasure of welcoming Dominque to a Cabinet meeting, along with Anne Jessopp, the first female Deputy Master of the Mint and Blondel Cluff CEO of the West India Committee and Advisor to The Royal Mint. This new coin echoes the government’s commitment to building a fairer society for all.”
“This coin, and the rest of the series, will act as a fitting tribute to the very profound impact ethnic minority communities have made on Britain, and I am grateful to the Royal Mint for turning this around at record speed,” said Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
You can acquire the Diversity Built Britain 50 pence copper-nickel coin in an inexpensive Brilliant Uncirculated card pack or find one in your pocket, if you are in the U.K., from the 10 million mintage circulation issue. Proof strikes are also being released in a reasonably priced silver version with a mintage limit of 25,000, a 2,500 mintage silver piedfort, a gold strike limited to 950, and a gold piedfort with a mintage of just 200 pieces. As of this writing, I believe all are still available directly from the Royal Mint website.
As part of the wider “Diversity built Britain” campaign, the Royal Mint has also launched an Inspiration Wall on its website encouraging people to submit their own stories of who inspires them. It also looks at recent coins issued such as the 2007 £2 coin in commemoration of the abolition of slavery, and a 2014 £5-coin commemorating Britain’s First Black Officer Walter Tull.
To view the Inspiration Wall or to find out more about the Diversity Built Britain coin, visit the Royal Mint website. As always, the Royal Mint offers a great deal of interaction and educational possibilities on their website, so do take a look and see what’s happening in their vibrant programs.