Saturday, 4 February 2017
The 1000 Pound Coin
New Quid on the Block
As if to put a red line under the triggering of Article 50, Her Majesty’s Treasury and The Royal Mint are putting a new £1 coin into circulation next month. Billed as the 'most secure coin in the world', it's a mini work of numismatic art.
The new pound coin has twelve sides — harking back to the old threepenny bit — a gold (nickel-brass) outer ring and and an inner silver (nickel-plated alloy) ring. Most intriguing is the 'high security feature built into the coin to protect it from counterfeiting in the future'. Let's see if it lasts as long as the old pound coin, which put in a respectable 32 years of service.
Some say physical cash protects our money from state manipulation by central banks. Apparently, the Royal Mint sees a future in the hard stuff. And what would football fans be able to throw at opposing supporters if pounds disappeared?
The Trial of the Pyx
The new pound coin was introduced at the medieval Trial of the Pyx (wooden box) ceremony this week, which took place at Goldsmith's Hall in London. The trial, which began in the 13th century, is conducted by a jury of Goldsmiths dressed in ermine-trimmed robes who check samples of newly-minted coins for weight, size and composition in the presence of the Queen's Remembrancer and Royal Mint officials. The Queen's Remembrancer is the UK's oldest judicial post and was created by King Henry II in 1142.
It wasn't just the pound coin that was assessed at this week's trial. Michael Wainwright, Prime Warden of the Goldsmith's Company (1327), is holding up a new £1000 coin in the top picture, which was struck in gold (so worth far more than its face value) to commemorate the Queen's Sapphire Jubilee. The £1000 coins are a very limited edition, with only 21 available.
The reverse of the coin was designed by Gregory Cameron, Bishop of the Diocese of St Asaph in Wales, which depicts an olive branch for peace and an oak branch for strength on either side of the Royal Arms. You can't have one without the other.