The Mayflower and Seven Facts You May Not Know

The 2020 Mayflower 400th Anniversary gold Quarter Sovereign Banner
On 16th September 1620, a merchant ship called the Mayflower sailed from England to Plymouth, USA to the ‘New World’. On board the ship were 102 men, women and children; half of which were Pilgrims’ looking for a new life away from religious persecution. After a treacherous journey through storms and high waves, the mayflower finally reached its journeys end after 66 gruelling days.

We’re looking at the history of the vessel, as well as five facts you may not know…

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Una and the Lion – The World’s Most Beautiful Coin?

Storytelling through coins, is one of the most significant ways historical events are recalled, for the simple reason that currency is a constant that has always been around in one form or another. It has adapted, changed and transformed, but it is always there telling a story of history…

There’s one coin in particular though that holds more meaning and beauty than any other, blending fact and fiction to produce what can only be described by many as the world’s most beautiful coin. Una and the Lion.

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The 2020 Unknown Warrior 100th Anniversary Gold Sovereign Range

unknown warrior
This year, we mark a very solemn centenary; on the 11th of November it will be the 100th anniversary of the laying to rest of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey.

The nature and scale of the First World War was unlike anything that had been seen before. Large numbers of soldiers fell in the service of their country and have no known grave. To honour these men, and to ensure their sacrifice would be forever remembered, an unidentified British soldier from the battlefields in France was buried in Westminster Abbey, to represent all those who fell in battle and had no proper burial.

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The Trial of the Pyx – What is it, and why does it exist?

trials of the pyx
The Trial of the Pyx is one of Britain’s longest-established judicial ceremonies; held since the 12th century and remaining largely unchanged since that date and Henry III’s reign.

The word ‘pyx’ comes from the Latin word ‘pyxis’ or small box, and in this case refers to the chests used to store and transport the coins ready for the trial. Throughout the year, coins are randomly selected from every batch and denomination struck, sealed in bags of 50 and locked away in ‘Pyx’ boxes ready for testing to commence at the Trial of Pyx.

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The 2020 Pre-Decimal 50th Anniversary Gold Sovereign Range

The 2020 Pre-decimal 50th Anniversary Gold One-Eighth Sovereign Banner
In 1970, the last ever pre-decimal coins were struck. Pre-Decimal coinage is however very much still heard and seen today, despite there being many younger generations who have only ever known ‘Decimal’ currency of pounds and pence, missing out on centuries of history and tradition.

Decimalisation, or Decimal Day as it is most known, occurred in 1971 after the pre-decimal system was deemed too complicated with pounds, shillings and pence. Initially, the plan was to make the new decimal currency into cents and dollars (known more in the USA), but this was reconsidered, and pounds and pence were the chosen coinage.

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Timeline of the 200 Years of the British Gold Sovereign

200 years of the gold sovereign
The British Sovereign was first imagined in 1489 by King Henry VII, after he instructed officers of his Royal Mint to produce a ‘new money of gold’. Prior to that point, England had enjoyed circulating gold coinage for almost a century and a half, but the new coin, named a Sovereign, was to be the largest coin both in size and value.

Then in 1817, the ‘new sovereign’ made its debut with a newly imagined design featuring St George slaying the dragon. The new design was created by Italian gem engraver Benedetto Pistrucci and was destined to become one of the world’s most loved coin designs.

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