The Royal Mint commemorates outbreak of the First World War with a collectable £20 silver coin

01 Aug 2014

Throughout 2014, The Royal Mint is marking one hundred years since the outbreak of the First World War, honouring those who answered the call to fight for King and country a century ago. To reflect on their bravery, the 1,000 year-old organisation has produced a £20 coin – only the second United Kingdom £20 coin ever to be struck – as a timeless reminder for collectors to treasure.

Costing just £20, the coin’s face value, its poignant design depicts the figure of Britannia watching over the first troops leaving for France at the start of the war in 1914. Created by renowned sculptor John Bergdahl, the coin’s design captures the essence of the art deco style prevalent at the time, yet incorporates a contemporary twist.

Commenting on his inspiration for the image, Bergdahl said: “I decided to use the figure of Britannia in order to represent all of the allies who took part, most of whom were British or drawn from the British Empire. I combined inspiration from two sources: the South African medal for war services and the First World War memorial plaque awarded to those who died, using an art deco style which I felt best reflected the period.

”Minted in fine silver and struck to Brilliant Uncirculated standard, the ‘Outbreak of War’ £20 coin is an official United Kingdom coin, and bears the current portrait of Her Majesty The Queen on its obverse by Ian Rank-Broadley. It will be limited to an issue of 250,000 coins. The first UK £20 coin, released in 2013, was also limited to 250,000 and has now completely sold out.

Shane Bissett, The Royal Mint’s Director of Commemorative Coin and Bullion and Medals said “The centenary of the outbreak of the First World War is an occasion of such significance, it was important to us that this coin should takes its place in The Royal Mint’s programme of commemoration, remembering the bravery and sacrifice of those who answered the call to fight for King and country.”