2021 Annual Set : UK Silver Proof Piedfort Coin Collection
A limited presentation mintage of only 300 sets. This silver Proof coin set presents special edition coins to mark the milestones of 2021. The Royal Mint collection consists of five commemorative coins; a £5 coin to honour the 95th birthday of Her Majesty the Queen, two £2 coins celebrating novelists H.G. Wells and Sir Walter Scott, and two 50 pence pieces in recognition of John Logie Baird and the 50th anniversary of decimalisation in 1971. The obverse of this five-coin set from The Royal Mint presents the 5th Portrait of Her Majesty The Queen by Jody Clark on all the coins except one. A special version of the 2nd Portrait of HM The Queen, Elizabeth II by Arnold Machin RA, which was first introduced in 1968, is featured on the 50p celebrating 50 years of decimalisation.
Five Pound Coin
The Crown in this 2021 annual set honours The Queen's 95th birthday. Her Majesty has two birthdays as is tradition to permit celebrations during the summer months. Her official birthday takes place in June and her actual birthday is on 21st April. In 2017, Queen Elizabeth II became the UK's longest reigning Monarch, commemorating over 65 years since her accession to the throne. The 2021 design by renowned sculptor Timothy Noad captures the royal cypher of Elizabeth II accompanied by the inscription 'MY HEART AND MY DEVOTION” in reference to the oath she made to the people in her first televised Christmas broadcast in 1957. The broadcast reference is a subtle nod to the television-related motif of this five-coin collection. The edge inscription reads 'FULL OF HONOUR AND YEARS'.
The two-pound coins in this set recognise two treasured writers.
- The first of the £2 coins marks the achievements of renowned science fiction author H.G. Wells. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature four times. The coin's design by Chris Costello pays homage to motifs from his The War of the Worlds, The Time Machine and The Invisible Man novels, alongside the edge inscription 'GOOD BOOKS ARE THE WAREHOUSES OF IDEAS', a famous quote in literature.
- The second of the £2 coins presents a tribute to Scottish writer and poet, Sir Walter Scott, who penned novels; Waverley, Rob Roy and Ivanhoe. In a design by Stephen Raw, the edge inscription features a well-known Scott quote, 'THE WILL TO DO, THE SOUL TO DARE' a stanza from his 1810 poem, The Lady of the Lake. He is one of Scotland's most famous figures.
Fifty Pence Coins
- The first 50p is dedicated to the 'Father of Television' John Logie Baird, on the 75th anniversary of his death. The design by Osborne Ross, the company of designers Deborah Osborne and Andrew Ross, presents a timeline of the milestones in Baird's life in encircling waves of transmission radiating from the Crystal Palace mast.
- The second 50p celebrates the 50th anniversary of 'Decimal Day' when the UK moved to a decimal currency system in 1971. New coinage was introduced to support the transition and a campaign helped manage public concerns, including television transmissions, a recurring motif of this 5-coin issue. This design by Dominique Evans captures our nostalgia around pre-decimal coins with recognisable images from old coins including the sixpence and threepence. The obverse hosts the 2nd portrait of Elizabeth II by Arnold Machin, the release of which coincided with decimalisation.
All other coins in this set feature the 5th portrait by Jody Clark (2015).
The year 2021
Beyond the walls of The Royal Mint, the year 2021 is predicted to; host a plethora of 2020's cancelled events including the Olympic Games and Eurovision, witness the inauguration of 46th US President Joe Biden, see multiple countries have general elections, witness the second-shortest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century in May, the world taking up “space race” missions and Climate Change carbon-neutral pledges. This Royal Mint 2021 collection marks an extraordinary year for coinage and current affairs. Struck at a higher standard and hand-finished to inspect for imperfections, Proof Piedfort coins are ideal for a serious collector or to mark an important milestone such as a wedding, birthday or anniversary. This five-coin annual set features commemorative coins released in this limited edition presentation for 2021.
Early Piedfort Coins
Thick and heavy Piedfort coins originate from 12th century France, translating to 'heavy measure'. It is believed that early Piedfort coins were made to act as prototypes of new coin designers for engravers at Mints across the country to follow as an example when creating dies. The weight and thickness of Piedforts helped ensure they weren't mixed up with ordinary coins as legal tender. France minted Piedforts for this purpose for at least another 150 years while the UK ceased Piedfort production under this remit in the Tudor period with the last example being a 1588 sixpence.
From the mid-1500s to the mid-1600s, Monarchs across Europe started the tradition of giving struck-to-order 'prestige pieces' to gift to members of their court. Prestige coins were not as popular in England, with the exception of the gold Double-Sovereigns of Henry VII. The practice stopped in the 18th century.
Modern Piedfort Coins
Modern Piedfort coins were first struck in France in the 1890s as collectors' pieces. British Piedfort production at The Royal Mint did not begin until the 1980s. For the first time, these were also made available to the general public for collectors and investors to purchase in limited quantities. Rarer than standard Proof issues due to the level of craftsmanship and time required, Piedforts are usually only released by The Royal Mint to mark special events and new coin designs.
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