Royal Mint

Royal Mint

October 19, 2005 08:13 ET

Royal Mint Unveils Nelson Crown

CARDIFF, WALES --(CCNMatthews - Oct. 19, 2005) - As the 200th anniversary of the famous Battle of Trafalgar approaches (21 October 1805) the Royal Mint announces that a commemorative Nelson Crown has been produced and is available from the Royal Mint and selected Post Office branches at its face value of GBP5.

Gerald Sheehan, Chief Executive of the Royal Mint says: "We are delighted to be able to honour the momentous achievements of such a significant character in British history. We hope that by creating a coin to commemorate Lord Nelson, he will be remembered by generations to come as a national hero."

Although the actual names Trafalgar and Nelson are well-known throughout the land, the Royal Mint is urging people to use the new Nelson Crown as a trigger to find out more about the United Kingdom's naval heritage and Lord Nelson's role in shaping British history.

Two companion crown pieces - one bearing a portrait of Nelson by James Butler RA and another a scene from the Battle by Clive Duncan have been struck by the Royal Mint.

The coin honouring Nelson features on the reverse the portrait of Horatio Nelson in uniform of a Vice Admiral accompanied by the inscription HORATIO NELSON and the dates 1805 and 2005. The silver and gold coins have a plain edge with the incuse inscription ENGLAND EXPECTS THAT EVERY MAN WILL DO HIS DUTY.

The obverse design of Her Majesty the Queen is by Ian Rank-Broadley which has appeared on United Kingdom coinage since 1998.

* The Nelson Brilliant Uncirculated GBP5 Crown Pack is priced at GBP9.95 and is not subject to an issue limit
* The Nelson sterling silver coin is priced at GBP34.95
* The Nelson 22 carat Gold coin is priced at GBP525.00

The Nelson GBP5 Crown is available from selected Post Offices, from the Royal Mint Coin Club on 0845 608 8300 or please visit the website at www.royalmint.com. The coin is not intended for everyday use but is, rather, a commemorative keepsake of an historic event.

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Fact Sheet - Horatio Nelson

* Horatio Nelson was born on 29 September 1758, the son of a parish priest.

* He was a charismatic character in both his personal and professional life and every year in October the Royal Navy still marks Trafalgar Day with a toast to his memory.

* In March 1771, aged just thirteen, he began his remarkable naval career aboard HMS Raisonnable, a ship commanded by his maternal uncle, Captain Maurice Suckling.

* During his first few years at sea he learned the skills of navy life gaining experience of different vessels and environments and, on 5 April 1777, after passing his lieutenant's exam, he rose swiftly through the ranks being awarded the position of Post Captain when he was twenty.

* Nelson proved to be not only a brilliant fighting admiral but a skilled administrator and diplomat, but, unfortunately, his career was marred by physical injury.

* He lost almost all sight in his right eye during the capture of the island of Corsica in 1794 and in July 1797, following one of his worst defeats, had to have his right arm amputated. Nelson confided in a letter to a friend that '...a left-handed Admiral will never again be considered as useful'.

* Despite his fears, however, he recovered to win some of the most resounding victories in British naval history - at the Nile in 1798 where he gained the nickname 'The Hero of the Nile', at Copenhagen in 1801 and then, most famously, at Trafalgar in 1805.

* Over the period 1794 to 1805, under Nelson's leadership, the British Navy proved its supremacy over the French. Nelson's most famous engagement, at Cape Trafalgar, saved Britain from threat of invasion by Napoleon, but it would be his last. Struck by a French sniper's bullet he died on the first day of battle, October 21, 1805.

Popular myths

* Although historically Nelson is thought of as a small man, recent research has revealed that he was between 5ft 6in and 5ft 7 in tall, which was the average male height in the eighteenth century.

* Nelson never actually wore an eye patch - the exterior of his eye was undamaged and there was no disfigurement to be hidden.

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