There is arguably no bigger influencer that has ever lived or will ever live than self-described "pop star" and glam rock legend, David Bowie. Creator of music genres and alter egos, opener of debates on sexuality and politics, and a highly intelligent entrepreneur, the artist more than deserves his place in the Hall of Fame. The ever eccentric David Bowie inspired and enthralled decades of devoted fans, and new fans continue to discover his music, years after his sad passing in 2016. Now, the "Starman" David Bowie becomes the third artist to have their legacy immortalised in coinage in The Royal Mint's collection, Music Legends.
Music Legends: The Man Who Sold The World. But Who was David Bowie?
Born with a modest name and in humble beginnings, David Robert Jones of Brixton, South London, was fated to become one of the most eccentric stars in the universe. Whether you know him as David Bowie or one of his alter egos; Major Tom, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane or The Thin White Duke, Bowie certainly made a showman's impression. David Bowie was a creator of; new genres, musical masterpieces, theatre performances, films and fine art. He was also not shy of entrepreneurial ventures creating "Bowie Bonds", which celebrities could invest in his album royalties, and developing his own internet service provider with exclusive content, BowieNet.
David Bowie is not only remembered for his daring and androgynous costumes on stage but also for his galaxy of best-selling singles and albums. His chart-topping hits included; Space Oddity, The Man Who Sold The World, Heroes, Changes, Life On Mars, Starman, Ziggy Stardust and Rebel Rebel. Bowie also collaborated on albums with some of the biggest names in pop history including; Under Pressure with Queen, Dancing In The Street with Mick Jagger (of The Rolling Stones), and Hallo Spaceboy with The Pet Shop Boys.
Struck by Lightning: Designing a coin for David Bowie
This new coin collection from The Royal Mint is as "out of this world" as the artist himself, featuring a representation of the legend alongside his signature "BOWIE" typeface on the reverse. The coin's obverse impression is the 2nd Portrait of Her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth II, by Jody Clark. As part of The Royal Mint's Music Legends series, this highly collectible piece will reflect the very essence of Bowie. The design will feature classic elements of Bowie's main characteristics to represent the pop icon. This will present a challenge for the coin's designer as Bowie's identity was a constantly evolving matter and it is therefore difficult to select a single motif, which is unmistakable as David Bowie.
Which coins are available?
This new special David Bowie coin series from The Royal Mint will encompass 1,000, 500, 200, 100 and 25 pound Gold coins. Silver versions will be available in £10, £5, £2 and £1 coins. The series will also feature a £5 Cupro-Nickel crown. This collection is intended to be a souvenir of Bowie's legacy as part of The Royal Mint's Music Legends series.
Of the Gold coins, the £1,000 coin will weigh 1,005g and have a 100mm diameter. The coin's edge will also feature a decorative pattern in alignment with the rest of the design. The £500 coin will weigh 156.295g and have a diameter of 50mm. The £200 coin will weigh 62.42g and have a 40mm diameter. The £100 coin will have a weight of 31.21g and a 32.69mm diameter, and the £20 coin will weigh 7.8g with a diameter of 22mm. All Gold coins will have a millesimal fineness of not less than 999.9 fine gold. The £500, £200, £100 and £20 coins will have a grained edge.
The Silver coins will also have a grained edge and a composition of not less than 999 parts per thousand fine silver. The £10 silver coin will weigh 156.295g with a 65mm diameter. The £5 coins weigh 62.42g with a 40mm diameter. The £2 coin will weigh 31.21g and have a 38.61mm diameter and the £1 coin will have a standard weight of 15.71g with a diameter of 27mm.
The Cupro-Nickel crowns will weigh 28.28g with a 38.61mm diameter and have a grained edge like the Silver coins. These commemorative coins are created for occasions of national importance and therefore, usually remain uncirculated.
Gold, Silver or Cupro-Nickel?
The greater value Gold and Silver Proof coins in this David Bowie series are crafted to The Royal Mint's highest standards for commemorative coins in terms of their sharpness, detail and finish, making these coins perfect for serious collectors and investors. Hand-finished coins are also carefully inspected to ensure there are no marks or imperfections.
Although Proof coins have a higher quality finish, some collectors have a preference for the mirror finish of a Brilliant Uncirculated coin (composed of Cupro-Nickel). Cupro-Nickel coins are 75% copper and 25% nickel, giving a crisper table design to the coin. Brilliant Uncirculated coins are ideal for a starter collection or to purchase in honour of a special occasion or to treasure as a keepsake. This David Bowie coin is also the perfect gift for the fan who has everything else.
No official information is available to confirm mintage numbers as yet, however we can speculate that 5 one-kilo gold proof coins are likely to be struck, to reflect the 5 UK number 1 records Bowie had.
- 1974: Space Oddity
- 1980: Ashes to Ashes
- 1981: Under Pressure
- 1983: Let's Dance
- 1985: Dancing in the Street
About the Music Legends series
Music Legends is the collectible series from The Royal Mint to commemorate the biggest contributors to the British music scene by immortalising their legacy in UK coinage.
The first band to ever appear on a British coin, and the inaugural design for the Music Legends series, was rock act, Queen. The coin made an impression echoing band members' equal parts in their creative process by representing each member by their instruments; Brian May's "Red Special" guitar, John Deacon's bass guitar, Roger Taylor's drums, and frontman Freddie Mercury's piano, with the four opening notes of their masterpiece, Bohemian Rhapsody, pressed down on the keyboard.
Sir Elton John was the second act to follow the release of The Royal Mint's Queen design for Music Legends. A coin with an impression as flamboyant as the legend, Sir Elton's coin represented his image with his trademark straw boater's hat and musical note glasses.
If you're interested in securing any of the David Bowie Music Legends coins, The Britannia Coin Company will be stocking a wide selection is gold, silver and cupro-nickel. To receive advance notification of availability, subscribe to our newsletter using the sign-up box towards the bottom of this page.
Image Attribution: Gil Zetbase, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
- The Royal Mint Music Legends Series
- Music Legends: Queen to headline new coin series from The Royal Mint
- Music Legends: The Rocket Man, Sir Elton John
Frequently Asked Questions
The Royal Mint has released The Music Legends series to celebrate the biggest names in British music history. The David Bowie coin set is the third edition in the series. The inaugural release in the series was rock band Queen, closely followed by "Rocket Man", Sir Elton John.
The first music act to feature in the series is rock band Queen. Sir Elton John is the first solo artist to feature in the coin range and the second release in the series. David Bowie is the third release in the Music Legends. All three releases to date represent some of the greatest influences in British music history and now you have the chance to purchase a piece of that history.
The David Bowie release, part of The Royal Mint's Music Legends collection, features Gold pound coins (to the value of £25, £100, £200, £500 and £1,000) and Silver coins (to the value of £10, £5, £2 and £1), and a £5 Cupro-Nickel crown. The Music Legends collection is well presented in the typical high standards of The Royal Mint, ideal for display.