The Royal Mint is to issue a special £5 coin honouring 150 years of The Salvation Army – the organisation started in 1865 by William Booth to help the vulnerable and fight social injustice.
William Booth’s upbringing was one touched by hardship, but arriving in London in search of work, the pawnbroker turned preacher was shocked by what he saw. Fuelled by a desire to alleviate the suffering he witnessed in the slums of the city’s East End, he sought to bring ‘soup, soap and salvation’ to the destitute and starving – and so the work of The Salvation Army began.
The purpose of The Salvation Army is as relevant today as it has always been. Described as a ‘global force for good’, 100,000 employees and countless volunteers carry on its work in 126 countries. The distinctive uniforms worn by its officers and soldiers identifies ‘Salvationists’ and is a symbol of availability to those in need. The uniform carries an ‘S’ insignia for ‘Salvation’ and means ‘saved to serve’.
The Royal Mint’s £5 coin honouring the work of The Salvation Army has been struck for Alderney in Silver Proof and Brilliant Uncirculated editions, and features the obverse by Ian Rank-Broadley and a reverse by Royal Mint Engraver Laura Clancy. The design portrays the famous shield insignia first worn by wartime volunteers assisting on the front lines.
The Royal Mint’s Director of Commemorative Coin and Medals, Shane Bissett, said “This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the 150th anniversary and evolution of this much loved organisation – still bringing hope to people today.”
The designer’s inspiration
The reverse design for this special 150th anniversary coin was created by Laura Clancy, one of The Royal Mint’s talented designers. Laura studied Three-dimensional Crafts at the University of Brighton and has previously taught art and metalwork. Her work for The Royal Mint includes various team projects such as works to commemorate the Royal Air Force, the 90th anniversary of the First World War and the Portrait of Britain Collection.
Inspired by the cheering warmth and familiarity of The Salvation Army Brass Band playing carols, a distinctive feature of any British high street in the run-up to Christmas, the design prompts us to think more deeply about the organisation, and the tireless good work that its volunteers are engaged in all year round.
“I felt honoured to work on the design for The Salvation Army coin. It was an opportunity to learn more about the brass bands I remember on wintry days, their tunes warming up the cold and gently letting everyone around know that they are there. I wanted to create a design that commemorates their achievements. Something classic, celebratory and with something we all know and recognise at the heart of it.” – Laura Clancy