Royal Mint

Royal Mint

August 17, 2005 03:45 ET

Royal Mint Invites Members Of The Public To Make Their Mark On History

LONDON, ENGLAND--(CCNMatthews - Aug. 17, 2005) -

Open competition launched to find new designs for United Kingdom coins

An open competition to find designs for six of the United Kingdom's eight circulating coins is launched today (Wednesday 17 August 2005) by the Royal Mint.

Entries are expected to flood in as members of the public, and experienced artists alike, are invited to make their mark on history by coming up with the first new designs in forty years* for the reverse, or tail side, of the coins.

With the exception of the 20p, which was first issued in 1982, the reverse designs of coins from 1p to 50p were chosen in the late 1960s at the time of decimalisation. While the current designs have served their purpose well, it is hoped that a new series may better reflect modern Britain.

The design brief gives would-be designers a 'free hand' but as heraldry has been an important element in the design of British coins for centuries, entrants may want to look at interpreting heraldry in an 'imaginative and creative way' for a modern coinage. Alternatively, the brief suggests that they might like to consider themes to represent Britain, such as flora or fauna, geographic features, social, political or cultural achievements or British institutions. At a later stage members of the public will be consulted on the designs and will be given the opportunity to express their views prior to formal approval.

Neither the GBP1 nor GBP2 coins are included in the competition; a new series of reverse designs for the GBP1 coin (featuring famous bridges from around the United Kingdom) was introduced last year, while the bi-colour GBP2 coin - and its design representing Britain's industrial and technological evolution - was introduced as recently as 1998.

Gerald Sheehan, Chief Executive of the Royal Mint, said the competition is an exciting way of making sure that the Mint has the widest possible input into new coin designs from as many people as possible. "Although we use coins everyday and we often take them and their designs for granted, it is fascinating how strongly people feel about the coinage and how integral it is to our history.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for people to be involved in designing their own coinage and, for the winning designer, there could be a prize of up to GBP30,000. We are looking forward to seeing what ideas are submitted," he added.

Anyone interested in entering the competition should obtain an information and briefing pack from the Royal Mint:

Telephone: 0845 60 88 111

Address: The Coin Design Competition, Museum, Royal Mint, Llantrisant, Pontyclun, CF72 8YT

Or via the website:

The competition closing date is 14 November 2005.

* The designs are for the reverse of the coins - the tail side. The obverse (the head side of the coin) features a portrait of the Queen. The current designs for the 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p and 50p were by Christopher Ironside in preparation for decimalisation in 1971. The 50p has featured a number of other designs from time to time when it has been used to commemorate particular events, such as the 50th anniversary of athlete Roger Bannister's four-minute mile. The 20p, which was introduced later, has a reverse design by William Gardner.

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