Following the issue by The Royal Mint of the only official United Kingdom coin to mark the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta, the organisation is to strike precious metal variants of the coin in the lead-up to Britain’s commemoration of the event.
The Magna Carta £2 records the moment 800 years ago when barons, noblemen and bishops gathered in the meadows of Runnymede to witness King John’s acceptance of the terms of the Magna Carta, a charter of freedoms that survives in part in British law today, and is recognised as one of the cornerstones of human liberty worldwide.
The Royal Mint’s Director of Commemorative Coin and Medals, Shane Bissett, said:
“The Royal Mint has been making currency for the kings and queens of this country for over 1,000 years, and has a long tradition of marking significant moments in history on the nation’s coins. It is therefore apt that The Royal Mint is marking this significant occasion with the creation of the Magna Carta coin.”
The coin design, by experienced coinage artist John Bergdahl, carries the fifth portrait of Her Majesty The Queen on its obverse. The coins are to be struck in limited Gold Proof (400 coins), Silver Proof (3,000 coins) and Silver Proof Piedfort (2,000 coins) editions. The public can expect to see the circulating version of the design later this year.
The designer’s inspiration
John Bergdahl is an experienced coinage artist with commissions for The Royal Mint that include the collection of coins struck in celebration of the Christening of His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge. He has also been closely involved with the five-year programme of commemoration that will tell the story of the First World War from Outbreak to Armistice.
For this commemorative reverse, John Bergdahl took his inspiration from the medieval art of the time and the royal seal that was used to affirm the Magna Carta. The design features King John himself with a bishop and a baron.
“I wanted to include the figures who would have been key players at the formation of the Magna Carta at Runnymede. I was influenced by the art of the medieval period, which was quite uncomplicated and crude, and the ornate cornice and rose carvings echo the architecture of the era reflecting the time the Magna Carta was created. The inscription uses medieval-style font that surrounds the design as the inscription on King John’s royal seal did in the middle ages.” -John Bergdahl