World Coins

Collecting for old time’s sake: Auld Lang Syne author on coin

Shortly after midnight on January 1, millions of people around the world will sing a Scottish song to usher in the change of the calendar.

The tune, Auld Lange Syne, is credited to Scottish poet and author Robert Burns, who is often described as the unofficial national poet of Scotland. 

Scholars believe that Burns adapted a song melody and lyrics that were already in use, but he certainly popularized the term (which translates to “old time’s sake).

The tradition of singing the song at midnight as New Year’s Eve turns into the new year probably can be credited to band leader Guy Lombardo, whose band performed it live each year from 1929 to 1977, according to USA Today

In 2009, on the 250th anniversary of Burns’ birth, the Royal Mint honored the poet by showing some of the lyrics on the reverse of the ringed bimetallic £2 coin.

In 2009, Clydesdale Bank promoted Burns to the £10 note, ending his appearance on the £5 note that began in 1971. 

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