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