The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 20, Number 2, January 8, 2017, Article 31


We already discussed the Royal Mint's new one pound coin. Here's some information on some of their other new 2017 issues. Thanks to David Pickup for forwarding the link. -Editor

From the introduction of the new £1 coin to the commemorative designs released to mark significant anniversaries and national celebrations, 2017 promises to be a significant year for UK coins. Commemorative coin designs have been released to mark the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen, Sir Isaac Newton’s substantial influence on science, mathematics and minting, the 100th anniversary of the House of Windsor, the 200th anniversary of thse ‘modern’ Sovereign, the 1000th anniversary of the coronation of King Canute, the First World War centenary commemorations continue, and there’s still more to come! Below we take a look at the coins of 2017 (so far).

2017 Sir Isaac Newton 50p Sir Isaac Newton 50p
Sir Isaac Newton was the intellectual giant of the seventeenth century’s ‘Scientific Revolution’. He changed our understanding of mathematics and physics, redefined the way we see the world and shaped the security of our currency in his role as Master of the Mint. In 2017, we celebrate his genius on a UK 50p.

I have mixed feelings about this one. As a numismatist with a side interest in the history of science and technology, Newton is a doubly favorite figure of mine. This design, derived from one of Newton scientific drawings, is appropriate. But overall, the coin is flat and uninspiring. For more on the coin, see this Coin Update article by Michael Alexander. -Editor

On January 1, the Royal Mint launched a new coin that marks the 300th anniversary of a very important pinnacle in the economic development of the United Kingdom. In 1717, Great Britain adopted and utilized the gold standard following the recommendation of Sir Isaac Newton (1643–1727), the Royal Mint’s mintmaster—a position he held for almost 30 years. Sir Isaac was also instrumental in developing the means to institute weights and measures, which would help the coins of the realm become some of the world’s most reliable and desired forms of payment.

His improvements to assaying techniques and refinement of weights and measures resulted in an exacting standard that had never been seen before, and that would be replicated in other parts of the world. The gold standard had, in fact, been given royal assent as early as 1704 by Queen Anne, who had signed a proclamation basing its measurement and standard on the gold Spanish doubloon. The work of Sir Isaac established the ratio between gold and silver—a ratio that eventually led silver coinage to disappear from circulation and be replaced with a comprehensive gold series of coinage.

To read the complete article, see:
United Kingdom: 300th Anniversary of Sir Isaac Newton’s Gold-Standard Report Remembered on New Coin (

2017 First World War Aviation £2 coin First World War Aviation £2
In 2017 we continue our First World War centenary commemorations with the fourth £2 coin, in a five-coin series, which honours the aviators of the First World War. At the outbreak of the First World War few people believed that aircraft would play a major role in the conflict. As the war developed into the bloodiest conflict ever seen, the race for superior air power began, shaping the history of human flight as we know it.

2017 Jane Austen £2 coin Jane Austen £2
200 years after her death, Jane Austen remains one of the best-loved authors in the world. Her novels were revolutionary in their treatment of subjects such as love, marriage and money, and from her first novel, ‘Sense and Sensibility’, readers began a love affair with her fiction that has lasted two centuries. In 2017 we celebrate the life and works of Jane Austen.

Ugh! Have the Royal Mint's designers forgotten how to make a portrait? I get that the silhouette and handwritten signature are modern coin design elements, but I don't like them. I guess I'm an official curmudgeon. -Editor

2017 King Canute £5 coin King Canute £5
In 2017 we mark the 1000th anniversary of the coronation of King Canute. A Viking warrior crowned ‘king of all England’ in 1017, King Canute’s achievements and influence paved the way for the nation we recognise today.

Nice, clean design. Very plain, but so were the coins of Canute 1,000 years ago. I think this is an appropriate tribute. -Editor

2017 House of Windsor £5 coin The House of Windsor £5
In 2017 we mark the 100th anniversary of the House of Windsor, which came into being in July 1917 by proclamation of George V. At this time the Royal Family gave up the German name of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha which had come to them in 1840 with the marriage of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert. This decision was largely due to anti-German feeling during the First World War and, with a new name, a new royal dynasty was born.

2017 Sovereign coin The Sovereign 2017
The Sovereign is the epitome of quality and beauty, with a reputation as ‘the chief coin of the world’. Its story may be more than five centuries old, but two centuries ago the gold coin set new standards for accuracy that defined a currency. In 2016 we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the design created by Benedetto Pistrucci that has endured for two centuries.

Pistrucci's St. George and the Dragon design never gets old, and holds its own even in the "modern" low relief seen here. -Editor

2017 Lion of England, Queen’s Beasts coin 2017 Lion of England, Queen’s Beasts
The Lion of England is the first coin in a new series of Proof coins that represent The Queen’s Beasts – a series of statues which stood guard outside Westminster Abbey at the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, each representing a particular heraldic story from The Queen’s ancestral history.

I like it. Nice coin, well balanced. -Editor

David adds:

I think the range of designs is excellent. The interesting thing is that some are hardly ever seen in change. I wonder how the Royal Mint decide when and how many to release to the public.

I am involved in the Poppy Appeal which means I get thousands of coins to sort through and count, yet I had very few commemorative 50 p or two pounds this year at all. Have not seen the 1066 50 p at all, or the Shakespeare Two Pounds.

To read the complete article, see:
The coins of 2017 (

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