The Royal Mint has released its Annual Sets for 2016, revealing some exciting new designs for United Kingdom coins for the year ahead. 2016 will be a significant year for the nation’s coins and The Royal Mint itself;  is the last year that the Annual Sets will contain the round £1 coin, and the year in which the 1,000-year-old organisation opens a Visitor Centre for the first time.
The history of The Royal Mint has been linked closely with the story of Britain for more than 1,000 years. During that time, the craftsmanship of Royal Mint engravers and coin designs has reflected change, progress, upheaval and war – a snapshot of Britain through time.
Anne Jessopp, Director of Commemorative Coin at The Royal Mint, says: “It is always exciting to see the new years’ designs revealed, commemorating the moments that matter, and revisiting some of the great events and stories from our history.”
Amongst the themes for 2016, we bid Her Majesty The Queen a happy 90th birthday, while three separate coins celebrate the on-going legacy of the work of William Shakespeare on the 400th anniversary of his death. The 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London is commemorated, as is the Battle of Hastings, 950 years ago. A continuation of The Royal Mint’s five-year programme of commemoration of the First World War recognises the civic pride that fueled the rise of the Pals’ Battalions within the Army 100 years ago. Finally, with the new 12-sided £1 coins set to be released in 2017, 2016 sees the issue of the last “round £1” coin, marked with a special edition £1 coin.
Each coin bears the fifth definitive portrait of The Queen by Royal Mint engraver Jody Clark. Introduced in 2015, this portrait heralds the next chapter in the royal story.
The Queen’s 90th Birthday 2016 UK £5 Coin
On 21 April 2016, Her Majesty The Queen will celebrate her 90th birthday – the first British monarch ever to do so. The £5 coin is often used to commemorate royal occasions. Acclaimed artist Christopher Hobbs has created a design for this coin to mark the occasion, inspired by the heraldic rose of England and The Queen’s love of flowers.
The Army 2016 UK £2 Coin
In 1914, as Britain mobilised for war, the whole country was swept by patriotic fervour in response to Lord Kitchener’s call to arms. Team mates, friends, neighbours and colleagues served side by side in ‘Pals’ Battalions to defend their country – a spirit of camaraderie that is remembered on this £2 coin by graphic designer Tim Sharp.
The 350th Anniversary of The Great Fire of London 2016 UK £2 Coin
It was 350 years ago in 1666 that The Great Fire of London started in a baker’s shop in Pudding Lane. The Royal Mint, then based in the Tower of London, was saved from the flames by the demolition of houses that lay in the path of the fire. Royal Mint graphic designer Aaron West has captured the event that changed the face of the City of London forever, on a 2016 £2 coin.
The 400th Anniversary of the Life of Shakespeare 2016 UK £2 Coin
William Shakespeare remains a household name 400 years after his death, and his writing is still central to our curriculum today. Shakespeare’s works make many references to coins, so it is apt that for 2016, renowned sculptor John Bergdahl’s designs reflect three aspects of his work on three different £2 coins:
- Tragedies – telling of downfalls and disasters
- Histories – reimagining the events of times past
- Comedies – tales with happy endings or the triumph of good over adversity
The Brilliant Uncirculated variant of the coins are only available as a three-coin set featuring the Tragedies coin, the Comedies coin and the Histories coin presented together.
The Last ‘Round Pound’ 2016 UK £1 Coin
A brand new 12-sided £1 coin is to enter circulation in 2017, incorporating ground-breaking security features developed by The Royal Mint. To mark the end of an era for the popular British ‘round pound’ introduced in 1983, The Royal Mint will strike a special commemorative Royal Arms £1 coin designed by artist Gregory Cameron that will be of particular note to collectors because it will not be available in general circulation.
The 950th Anniversary of The Battle of Hastings 2016 UK 50p Coin
On 14 October 2016 Britain will remember the 950th anniversary of The Battle of Hastings – a landmark moment in British history. The 50p coin features a reverse design by sculptor of repute, John Bergdahl, and depicts the famous fate of King Harold.
The 2016 Premium Medal
The Proof finish Premium Medal is a showcase for The Royal Mint’s artistry. Royal Mint Engraver Thomas Docherty’s ‘security’ theme has been continued for 2016. The eye-catching bi-metallic medal blends time-honed craftsmanship with contemporary technology; its raised platform is decorated with the themes of the United Kingdom commemorative coins in micro-text.
The 2016 Royal Mint Medal
The Royal Mint Medal, like the Premium Medal, is also a showcase for The Royal Mint’s engraving skills. This striking design by Royal Mint Engraver Kerry Hathway has been revived for 2016 and celebrates Britain’s circulating coinage. Each one of the simple lines of the design defines the outline of a circulating or commemorative coin, from the 1p to the £5. The medal takes the form of an ingot, a block of metal frequently used in minting.