The Royal Mint is to celebrate the centenary of the birth of writer and poet Dylan Thomas with Alderney coins featuring the literary great himself, alongside symbolic references to his life and work…
Popular both in his homeland of Wales and internationally, Dylan Thomas’ works have been performed and enjoyed for decades, and include the ‘play for voices’ Under Milk Wood, the haunting poem Do not go gentle into that good night and the popular tale A Child’s Christmas in Wales.
Now, on the 100th anniversary of his birth, we celebrate his inspirational talent with a coin struck for Alderney in his honour – available as a Brilliant Uncirculated £5, a silver Proof £5 and a gold Proof £1.
Meaning ‘son of the waves’, Dylan’s name originates from the Welsh mythical ‘Mabinogion’ tales, and there could be no more fitting a name for the tempestuous character. Senior Royal Mint engraver Lee R. Jones has captured his origins in the waves featured on the reverse design reflecting Dylan’s name and the water of the Welsh landscape that surrounded and inspired the poet. Other touches, such as the ferns that recall the well-known poem Fern Hill, frame the instantly recognisable portrait of Dylan with his wild hair and wide eyes.
Designer Lee Jones said: “Dylan’s writing is so visual it has always moved me and I often return to it for inspiration. For this design I incorporated the fern, not just for its symbolism – rugged, growing and seen in the landscape of Wales – but also to recall Fern Hill, one of Dylan’s most famous poems, to make the design accessible and hopefully inspire others to read Dylan’s work.
“The waves of Dylan’s hair reflect the waves of Dylan’s name and the water of the Welsh landscape that surrounded and inspired him.”
These commemorative coins have been created in collaboration with Hannah Ellis, Dylan’s granddaughter, and an information booklet provided with each coin reveals delightful insights into Dylan’s life and works.
Lee R. Jones – notes on the designer
Lee R. Jones is a senior engraver at The Royal Mint with several projects to his name, the most recent being his design for the 2014 70th Anniversary of D-Day £5 Coin. Lee obtained an HND in animation from the University of Wales Institute Cardiff and worked in the world of animation and cinematography before joining The Royal Mint where he is able to apply his creativity. Lee has also exhibited work with the Society of Portrait Sculptors, receiving a commendation in 2014 for his portrait of Royal Mint Chief Engraver, Gordon Summers. A true fan of Dylan Thomas, Lee was delighted to design this commemorative reverse.
About The Royal Mint
The Royal Mint has an unbroken history of minting British coinage dating back over 1,000 years. By the late thirteenth century the organisation was based in the Tower of London, and remained there for over 500 years. By 1812 The Royal Mint had moved out of the Tower to premises on London’s Tower Hill. In 1967 the building of a new Royal Mint began on its current site in South Wales, UK.
While The Royal Mint’s finest traditions are always respected, it continually innovates in order to stay at the forefront of world minting, embracing the latest production techniques and technology in order to offer excellence to our clients across the globe. By underpinning our proud heritage with a highly progressive outlook, The Royal Mint produces coins that remain a byword for trust and reliability the world over.
There were estimated to be 28.9 billion UK coins in circulation at 31 March 2014 ,with a total face value of over £4 billion, all manufactured by The Royal Mint. In total, nearly 2 billion UK coins were issued during 2013-14.
As well as over 1,000 years of producing British coinage, The Royal Mint has long been trusted with the currencies of other countries. It has served more than 100 issuing authorities around the world and currently meets approximately 15% of global demand, making us the world’s leading export mint.
The Royal Mint has recently introduced a new fineness of Britannia bullion coins and a highly-secure on-site bullion vault storage facility, building on the gold Sovereign’s long-standing reputation for integrity, accuracy. This positions The Royal Mint and its bullion products as a premium proposition in this marketplace.
The Royal Mint has been making official military campaign medals since it was commissioned to make awards for soldiers who fought in the battle of Waterloo in 1815. The year 2012 was of particular significance for The Royal Mint’s medal-making team, with the manufacture of all 4,700 Victory Medals for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
In April 2014, The Royal Mint unveiled plans to develop a purpose-built visitor centre at its headquarters in Llantrisant, South Wales. Construction is expected to be completed during 2016.