Famous World War I battle honored on new silver £5
- Published: Jul 11, 2016, 8 AM
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 individual sales.
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 Royal Mint.
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.
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