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The London Mint Office is one of the UK’s most trusted suppliers of historic, commemorative and circulation coins. Through long grown partnerships with most of the major state mints and national banks across the globe, the company has become one of the leading sources in the coin collecting community. With unrivalled expertise in this specialist field, and a visionary approach to sourcing and customer service, The London Mint Office is committed to enhancing the enjoyment, understanding and knowledge of collectors.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

London Mint Office: Sovereign 200 - A Masterpiece Reborn

We at the London Mint Office are very proud to launch a classical masterpiece, reborn and redesigned centuries later by a member of the original artists own family. It has been 200 years coming... Now the wait is finally over:

The Story Behind The Masterpiece 

2017 marks the 200th anniversary of Britain’s most famous gold coin, the modern Sovereign.  With only a few exceptions, every UK Sovereign struck since 1817 has featured the same depiction of St George slaying the dragon. This now iconic design was created by Italian sculptor and engraver Benedetto Pistrucci (1783-1855) who became Chief Medalist for The Royal Mint.
London Mint Office: Modern Sovereign
Benedetto Pistrucci’s famous George and the Dragon design.

Angela Pistrucci, a keen artist, grew up largely unaware of her family’s illustrious history. When her grandfather mentioned that the Pistrucci family came to England in the early nineteenth century and that Benedetto worked in the Royal Mint, she imagined that he worked in the basement, stoking the fires that melted the metal for the coins.

It was only when she began to research her family history as an adult that Angela uncovered the truth of the extraordinary talent that ran through her family. The discovery certainly helped her make sense of her lifelong fascination with cameos and relief sculpture. 

London Mint Office: Angela Pistrucci Sketching #sov200
A model poses for Angela Pistrucci during her sketching of the 2017 Sovereign.

While in Rome, Angela began working on a new Saint George and the Dragon design to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the modern sovereign. Her work – seen on the 2017 Pistrucci Sovereign – presents this ancient story in a contemporary style, while still reflecting the legacy of Benedetto Pistrucci’s iconic 1817 sovereign. Drawing on some of the early depictions of Saint George and on the history and art that surrounded her in Rome as well on her own family connection to the city, Angela's 2017 Pistrucci Sovereign recasts Benedetto’s Greek saint as a Roman soldier.

London Mint Office: Angela Pistrucci original sketch #sov200
Angela Pistrucci’s original drawing for the 1817 Sovereign.

It draws on the composition of the 1817 sovereign, featuring the rearing horse, the rider pulled close in to his horse’s neck, the twist of the dragon’s neck, and the re-appearance of the spear. Where Benedetto’s horse’s head could be considered too small, that seen on the 2017 Pistrucci Sovereign is correctly proportioned at about three times the length of a man’s head.

Angela Pistrucci's Sovereign Design

“It is very much its own coin; the position of Saint George and his horse to face left brings balance to the composition and the dragon climbing up the side adds interest and movement while making excellent use of the shape of the coin. The 2017 Pistrucci Sovereign is undoubtedly a new Pistrucci masterpiece”. - Dan Penney, Senior Creative Manager for The London Mint Office.

London Mint Office: Angela Pistrucci Quote #sov200

The coin, exclusive to the London Mint Office, is set to be unveiled at the World Money Fair in Berlin February 2017. Don't forget to head over to our Facebook page for all the VIP news on the Sovereign including the video of the first strike as well as a live interview with Angela herself in February at the Berlin Coin Fayre.

London Mint Office 2017 Sovereign
The 2017 Sovereign by Angela Pistrucci exclusive to the London Mint Office

Click below to head to the Official London Mint Office Facebook page

By Scott Wilson - Social Media Manager, London Mint Office

Friday, 6 January 2017

Anatomy of a Coin

The Anatomy of a Coin

How well do you know your coin anatomy? Want to know more? Take a look below at this insightful blog written by our very own Numismatic Consultant Dominic Chorney. 

Across the world, coins all share the same features.  They may not all be round, like the British 20p, 50p and soon the £1 coin, but they bear similar characteristics, and have done since the beginnings of coinage, over 2500 years ago.

Here are some useful numismatic terms to help you understand some more about coins.


The obverse of a coin almost always features a portrait – often of the head of state, such as the Queen Elizabeth II, or in the case of American coinage, the portraits of famous presidents grace the coinage.  In Roman times, the Emperor appeared on the coins, which circulated across 3000 miles of Empire, for all to see.  In the Ancient World, where many Greek Cities were ruled by democracies.
Roman coins featured the Emperor on their obverses.
The motif, or design of a coin usually appears on the reverse.  In the Ancient World, a motif may have been a god, goddess, building, historical site, plant, animal or anything which paid homage to the civilization who struck the coin.  Coins from Athens, struck in the 5th-4th centuries BC, featured the city’s patron animal – the owl.  Modern American coins have featured the American Eagle as their primary motif.  

The American Eagle has featured on countless coins of the United States.

Mint Mark:
Mint marks have existed since some of the earliest coins were struck, and occur across coinages ancient, medieval and modern.  One type of coin may have been struck at a number of different mints.  The Gold Sovereign, for example, was struck in mints across the world as far afield as Australia.  Originally marks were a means of holding mint officials to account if coins were found to be underweight or of poor quality, but were also used to track different issues of coins through time.  Officina Marks, or mint-workshop marks, were introduced by the Romans and featured an abbreviated form of the place they were minted.  
The PLN on this Roman Coin of the Emperor Constantine (307-336 AD) stands for Prima Londinium – the City of London.

Issuing Authority:                                                                                                 
The issuing authority determines who the coin was struck by and where it is intended to circulate.  In the present day, every coin features, in writing, the issuing authority of a coin. In Roman times, the Emperor was responsible for the issuing of silver and gold coins, while the Roman Senate controlled the bronze.  This was shown by the large letters ‘SC’, abbreviating ‘Senatus Consulto’, Latin for ‘By Decree of the Senate’.

This 40 Franc coin of Napoleon, depicting him as head Consul, also shows the issuing authority on its reverse; the Republic of France.
Face Value:                        
The face value determines the buying power of a coin.  At the end of the day, that’s what coins were made for.  But face value is also conveyed in ways you might not realize.  The different sizes of coins can also determine the face value, rather than simply a value mark on the coin.  The shape of coins, for example the hexagonal 50p and 20p in Britain, assist the blind or illiterate in distinguishing between different denominations.  Color and metal are another means of telling different denominations apart.

The 50p piece was designed with an unorthodox shape.

Coins have featured year dates since the early years BC.  Since different cultures used different calendars, dates vary according to the issuing authority.  For example, coins struck during the Roman period were often dated with the number of years since the emperor was coronated.  In the present day, coins are dated according to the Gregorian calendar.

For a full break down of the anatomy of a coin just take a look below

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Saturday, 24 December 2016

Christmas Traditions

Christmas Traditions

Christmas Stockings
One of the key things everyone loves to hang on the mantle is a Christmas Stocking- But do you know the reason why people do this? And how it relates to coins?

It actually dates back to a saint in the 4th century a rich and wealthy man known as Saint Nicholas the base figure from which the legend of Santa Claus was born.He was the Bishop of Myra in Lycia, which is know today as Turkey.

According to history he was a kind and generous man who secretly gave to the poor. Saint Nicholas heard of a husband who had sadly been widowed and left with 3 daughters and no money. The gentleman was made to live in a peasant’s cottage with other poor people. The daughters were at the right age to marry however tradition states that a bride would need a Dowry in which to give the grooms parents she wished to marry. Sadly as the father had no money the girls would be unable to get married.

Too proud to accept any charity from anyone Saint Nicholas knew he would have to be clever in donating to the widowed man. Saint Nicholas noticed that each night the daughters would hang their stockings to dry on the ledge of the chimney. So Saint Nicholas decided to climb down the chimney and hide a bag of silver coins inside the eldest daughters stocking. And for the following two nights he did the same for the other two daughters. Meaning they were now able to get married.
News of Saint Nicholas’s generosity got out and everybody in the town started hanging their stockings on the chimney ledge in hope that Saint Nicholas would visit. Although this historic tale has nothing to do with Christmas it has helped shape the Christmas we know and love today.

Chocolate Coins
Almost all of us at some point in our lives have found a bag of shiny chocolate coins in our stocking.. but why coins? As a Christmas tradition, the giving of chocolate coins was thought to be started by the deeds of Saint Nicholas as discussed above.

Now much later in time, and after the custom had spread to many different countries across the globe, people would include their own different versions of hiding coins around the house for the children to find, Much like a treasure trail.  At an unspecified date these coins were later made into chocolate coins and put into the stockings of children on Christmas morning. This could have been the result of chocolate coins being inexpensive whilst bringing the same joy to children during the holiday.

Six Pence
As an established tradition in Great Britain, the discovery of a coin in your slice of Christmas pudding is considered good fortune and provides health, wealth and happiness in the coming year to the discoverer.

The celebrated Christmas pudding was traditionally prepared on the last Sunday before the period of advent, known informally now as “Stir-up Sunday". Once all ingredients had been added to the mixing bowl, each family member was to take turns stirring the pudding and at the same time make a wish whilst adding various food items if they so desired.

Following this, a Sixpence (which had a value of 2½ pence after the national decimalisation) was added to the mix. It was widely believed that whoever received this special serving would receive wealth over the upcoming year. Some families used the exact same coin year after year, with some coins rumored to of been used for over 50 years and passed down through to succeeding generations.
Similarly across the world in Macedonia a long lived tradition is for a loaf of bread to be baked with a coin in the centre and who ever receives the loaf of bread will have good luck for the whole year.

Boxing Day
In recent year Boxing Day is generally a day to recover from the festivities of Christmas or a day to make the most of the sales in the shops. But where did the tradition of Boxing day start?
It is believed that Boxing day started in England in the Middle Ages. Many of the servants working for the rich and wealthy were required to work Christmas day to ensure that the Lords & Lady's had a luxurious Christmas. As thanks to their servants a day off was granted on the 26th of December so that workers could spend time with their families. History states that workers would be given boxes from their masters containing a variety of things such as leftover food or in some lucky cases a silver coin. This is where the name Boxing Day comes from. 

And what ever your own traditions may be we wish you a very Merry Christmas from all at the London Mint Office