World Coins

Royal Mint reveals 2018 commemorative coin themes

The Royal Mint has unveiled designs for its circulating commemorative coins of 2018, and besides the familiar themes of aviation, war and royalty, one subject is sure to grab some mainstream attention.

Among five different themes planned for commemoration this year is a £2 coin honoring the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Two additional £2 coins celebrate the centennial of the armistice of World War I and the centennial of the Royal Air Force. 

Recapping the top numismatic stories of 2017”The Coin World editorial staff revisits what we thought were the most captivating stories of 2017: As 2018 strides on stage, we reflect on the major story lines Coin World covered in 2017

Other coins joining the traditional or definitive circulating suite of designs will include a 50-penny coin for a voting law, and a £5 coin marking the fifth anniversary of Prince George of Cambridge. 

The commemorative designs are now available in annual coin sets in precious metal and base metal versions, in both Proof and Brilliant Uncirculated options. 

All of the coins feature the Jody Clark effigy of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse. 

Frankenstein’s ‘birth’

Two hundred years ago, author Mary Shelley, still in her teens, created the masterpiece for which she is remembered today, Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus (1818).

The Royal Mint honors the accomplishment with a £2 coin.

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According to the Royal Mint, “On a stormy night in 1816, a group of friends gathered at a villa on the shores of Lake Geneva to tell each other ghost stories. The company, including the poets Lord Byron and Percy Shelley, had been discussing the latest scientific controversy — was human life simply biological or did it contain ‘the divine spark’ of God? That night Mary Godwin (later Mary Shelley), experienced a fevered dream about the birth of a terrible creature that was to become one of the most famous horror stories ever written.” 

Designer Thomas T. Docherty’s design features the title of Shelley’s book, with the name of Frankenstein at the center of the ringed-bimetallic coin.

1918 voting law 50-penny

The sole 50-penny commemorative coin for 2018 marks the 100th Anniversary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act. 

Designer Stephen Taylor’s reverse depicts a crowd of voters, representing the change in suffrage triggered by the law. 

The passing of the Representation of the People Act 1918 through Parliament was hailed as a milestone for freedom and democracy. 

For many years progressive groups had been lobbying for changes to the voting system, so political power would no longer remain with the country’s wealthy elite. In 1918, servicemen over the age of 19, men over 21, and women over the age of 30, who met minimum property qualifications, were given the right to vote. 

Royal Air Force £2 coin

Since its formation on April 1, 1918, the Royal Air Force had defended the skies above Britain. 

According to the Royal Mint, “The Royal Air Force has been at the forefront of Britain’s defense, from the first wooden biplane, through the development of hi-tech supersonic jets, to today’s aircraft; it has always been at the cutting edge of innovation, marking the aviation milestones of the 20th century.”

The 100th Anniversary of the Royal Air Force £2 coin features a reverse design by Rhys Morgan.

The RAF logo or insignia appears within the center of the ringed-bimetallic coin.

Surrounding the image are inscriptions noting the anniversary. 

Armistice anniversary

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, a great silence fell over the battlefields of the Western Front.

Hostilities ceased as the initial step was taken toward bringing World War I to an end after four years of grueling conflict. When the news of armistice and the prospect of a permanent peace reached London, church bells rang and Big Ben struck the hour for the first time since the start of the war. In the decades since the armistice was signed, communities across the world continue to gather in silence at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11 to remember the fallen. 

The United Kingdom’s 2018 £2 coin displays an excerpt from poet Wilfrid Owen’s “Strange Meeting”: THE TRUTH UNTOLD, THE PITY OF WAR. 

Stephen Raw created the design.

£5 for the birthday boy

Prince George of Cambridge, the first child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Catherine, turns 5 years old in 2018.

A £5 coin marking the birthday features Jody Clark’s modern twist on the classic St. George and the Dragon design.

Five years have passed since the gun salutes were fired in his honour and the bells of Westminster Abbey rang out in celebration. 

Since then, the nation has followed the progress of the young prince as he has enjoyed the milestones of a child’s young life. Born into the media spotlight, he has also stolen the limelight during official visits with his parents, meeting dignitaries and winning the hearts of the public as far afield as Canada and New Zealand. 

The Royal Mint has in recent years issued medals in certain Proof sets, to provide collectors with an enticement to buy the sets. Two medals are offered in 2018.

The 2018 Royal Mint medal is available only in the Proof and Commemorative Coin Proof sets. The ingot-shaped piece features a design of outlines of circulating coins. The 2018 Premium medal is offered only in the Premium Proof coin set and is ringed bimetallic, with an emphasis on displaying security features. 

The nine different sets currently being offered feature an array of options, finishes, metals and more.

Circulating versions, and additional individual options, will be released throughout the year. 

Full details of the sets can be found at the Royal Mint website

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