Nearly 100 years after the Battle of the Somme, the Royal Mint is
marking the anniversary with a Proof silver £5 commemorative coin
depicting poignant scenes from the terrible event.
The coin was initially released in a six-coin set as part of this year’s release in
the Royal Mint’s five-year program commemorating World War I. Now a
portion of the overall mintage of this coin is being offered for
The battle took place in the summer of 1916, when British and French
forces attempted to break through the German lines. The offensive
would exact a terrible human cost.
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Digging into the design
Produced in collaboration with the Imperial War Museum, the coin is
designed by sculptor and coin designer John Bergdahl, and portrays
infantrymen trudging through muddy terrain in no man’s land, as a tank
rolls alongside them. This new piece of military technology — the tank
— would eventually help to change the nature of the conflict, and
marked the battle as a turning point in the war, according to the
The coin’s edge lettering, DEAD MEN CAN ADVANCE NO FURTHER, is a
quotation taken from Maj. Gen. Sir Beauvoir de Lisle, commander of the
29th British Division.
Bergdahl explained his approach at the design: “Tanks added
protection as well as firepower. Rolling across no man’s land, troops
could advance behind them, a vital breakthrough. Getting the look
right in low relief was a challenge, along with accuracy and
detailing. This particular tank has a lot of rivets, but look closely
and they’re all there.”
The Jody Clark effigy of Queen Elizabeth II appears on the obverse.
The Proof .925 fine silver £5 coin weighs 28.28 grams, measures
38.61 millimeters in diameter and has a mintage limited to 4,000, of
which 1,916 are available individually for £80 each.
To order, visit the Royal Mint website.