Full program of Royal Mint commemorative coins planned for 2017

Designs include celebration of milestones for Jane Austen and Sir Isaac Newton
By , Coin World
Published : 01/16/17
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Big names and major themes are on tap for the United Kingdom’s commemorative coinage in 2017.

The Royal Mint on Jan. 1 announced the subjects of its commemorative coins and opened sales of the annual sets featuring the new designs.

In addition, various individual versions of one of the coins are now available.

The full program of precious metal coins and other versions of the commemorative designs will be released for individual sale throughout the year, but the sets are the only option now to acquire the coins, with one exception.

The 50-penny coin honors Sir Isaac Newton, while two different £2 coins celebrate Jane Austen and World War I Aviation.

Two £5 coins honor the current ruling family, the House of Windsor, and a historic English king, Canute (or Cnut).

Another new coin in the sets is the new look (size, shape and design) £1 coin, which is debuting in March in an effort to thwart counterfeiters.

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All of the coins feature on their obverse the current effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, as designed by Jody Clark.

Here’s a review of the new designs and the purchasing options for the 2017 designs.

Sir Isaac Newton

The Sir Isaac Newton 50-penny coin marks the achievements of one-time Master of the Royal Mint, Sir Isaac Newton.

The reverse design by Aaron West honors the intellectual giant of the 17th century’s scientific revolution in a design inspired by the scientific theories relating to planets and bodies in space detailed in Book One of Newton’s Principia Mathematica.

Newton used mathematics and rigorous experiments to provide universal descriptions of how nature worked.

He also played a vital role as Master of the Royal Mint for more than 30 years, helping strengthen Britain’s currency.

Renowned for his zeal in tackling counterfeiters, improving assaying techniques and refining weights and measures to an exacting standard never seen before, Newton’s report of 1717 paved the way for the introduction of the “Gold Standard” — a system still referred to today.

Pound that’s not round

The headliner for 2017 is undoubtedly the new ringed-bimetallic 12-sided £1 coin. It incorporates what the Royal Mint calls ground-breaking technology and security features developed by the mint’s in-house team, “and will be the most secure coin in the world when it makes its way into the nation’s pockets in March 2017,” according to officials.

Its design, by David Pearce, features the flora of the four nations of the United Kingdom emerging from a coronet.

More than 1 billion of the new £1 coins are being struck by the Royal Mint in readiness for the launch.

Sense and pounds

The Jane Austen £2 coin celebrates the Hampshire author who in 1811 at the age of 35 had her first novel, Sense and Sensibility, published anonymously, and went on to become one of the best-loved authors in the world.

The coin marks the 200th anniversary of her death.

Following her debut work, her written creations include Pride and Prejudice and Emma.

Her books have been translated into more than 40 languages with almost 100 film and television adaptations taking her characters to new heights of fame around the globe.

Designer Dominique Evans’ reverse shows a silhouette of the author at the center, in a design resembling a cameo pendant.

Royal Flying Corps £2

The first of two £2 coins marks the Royal Flying Corps and its contribution to the defense of Britain’s skies in World War I using new aircraft technology.

At the outbreak of World War I, few people believed that aircraft would play a major role in the conflict, according to the Royal Mint.

The Royal Flying Corps grew from a force of a few hundred airplanes in 1914 into a huge, independent air arm. Its personnel risked their lives testing the new aircraft technology to its limits, and endured the previously unknown effects of altitude, G-forces and freezing temperatures as well as the dangers presented by the war. In 1918 the Royal Flying Corps became the Royal Air Force we know today and has defended the skies ever since.

Creative firm Tangerine Design created the design, which provides an aerial view of a pilot flying a plane above a country landscape.

Historic Viking ruler

The first £5 coin of 2017 makes history for the Royal Mint, being the first UK coin to celebrate an anniversary of 1,000 years.

The coin marks the coronation of King Canute, the Viking warrior who became the first king of a unified England.

Long before the Norman Invasion of 1066, Canute (or Cnut) the Great crossed the North Sea and seized the throne of England.

As a Viking warrior, son of King Swein “Forkbeard” of Denmark, Canute captured the English throne from Æthelred II’s son, Edmund “Ironside,” at the Battle of Assandun, and began a period of conquest across northern Europe. Canute’s ruling of the North Sea Empire and being crowned “king of all England” are now largely forgotten, although his achievements paved the way for the nation of England we recognize today.

Designer Lee R. Jones shows a stylized profile of the Viking king with dates marking the coronation anniversary, and his name.

Modern monarchs

The second £5 coin in this year’s sets celebrates the House of Windsor — it is a century since the royal family changed its name to Windsor during World War I.

The House of Windsor came into being in July 1917 by proclamation of George V, when the royal family gave up the German name of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, which had come to them in 1840 with the marriage of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert.

Since then the House of Windsor has produced four monarchs who have reigned over Britain and the Commonwealth for 100 years.

Designer Timothy Noad shows what appears to be one of the towers at Windsor Castle, topped with a cartoonishly disproportionate flag. What appears to be St. Edward’s Crown (which has been used for every coronation ceremony since 1911) appears above, with a pair of oak sprigs flanking the castle.

Specifications and sets

Many annual sets are available, from the basic 2017 United Kingdom definitive coin set with only the eight circulating designs in base metal, to gold Proof sets.

The Definitive Coin set offers Brilliant Uncirculated base metal examples of all eight circulating coins. The set has an unlimited mintage and retails for £30.

The 2017 UK Brilliant Uncirculated Annual Coin set offers all eight circulating coins, as well as the five commemorative 2017 designs, all in BU versions.

The set has an unlimited mintage and retails for £55.

The 2017 UK Commemorative Proof Coin set offers base metal Proof versions of all five 2017 commemorative designs, as well as a 2017 Royal Mint medal. The medal, designed by Kerry Davies, is shaped like an ingot and features outlines of all U.K. coins from the penny to the £5.

The Commemorative Proof set has an issue limit of 7,500 sets and retails for £95.

The 2017 UK Collector Proof Coin set offers base metal Proof versions of all 2017 commemorative designs, as well as base metal Proof versions of all circulating coins. The ingot medal is also included in this set, which has an issue limit of 15,000 pieces and retails for £145.

Coinage contents of the 2017 UK Premium Proof Coin set are almost the same as the 2017 UK Collector Proof Coin set, but instead of the 2017 Royal Mint ingot medal, the set includes a “Premium Medal.”

The 2017 Premium Medal, created by Thomas T. Docherty, has a strong focus on security, tying into the release of the new 12-sided £1 coin, according to the Royal Mint.

The medal has a 12-sided inside edge reflecting the shape of the new £1 coin, while the raised platform of the coin is decorated with the themes of 2017 commemorative coins in micro-text, with a frosted appearance.

The Premium Proof Coin set has an issue limit of 7,500 sets and retails for £195.

Precious metal sets

Five additional sets offer precious metal versions of various 2017 U.K. coinage.

The 2017 UK Silver Proof Commemorative Coin set offers .925 fine silver versions of all five 2017 commemorative designs.

The set has an issue limit of 1,500 pieces and retails for £350.

The 2017 UK Silver Proof Piedfort set offers piedfort (double-thick) versions of all five 2017 commemorative coins.

The set has an issue limit of 1,500 sets and retails for £595.

The 2017 UK Silver Proof Coin set features Proof .925 silver versions of all eight circulating coins and five 2017 commemorative designs.

The set has an issue limit of 1,500 sets and retails for £625.

The 2017 UK Gold Proof Coin set features Proof .9167 fine versions of all five 2017 commemorative designs.

The set has an issue limit of 100 and retails for £6,800 each.

The 2017 UK Gold Proof Definitive Coin set is the first ever set of U.K. definitive (circulating) coins in gold.

All eight coins are struck in Proof .9167 fine versions. In total, 34 sets are available, each for a retail price of £11,800.

In addition, the Royal Mint has begun individual sales of the Canute £5 coin.

A BU copper-nickel version has an unlimited mintage and retails for £13.

A Proof .925 fine silver version has a mintage limit of 3,000 pieces and retails for £82.50.

A Proof .925 fine silver piedfort version is limited to 1,500 pieces and retails for £155.

A Proof .9167 fine gold version of the Canute coin is limited to 150 pieces and retails for £1,945.

Full details of the 2017 annual sets are available at the Royal Mint website.

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