In 2012, London will host the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the most prestigious sporting events in the world.To commemorate this auspicious occasion, the Royal Mint has today been joined by Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington OBE to launch the first Countdown Coin, a special £5 coin counting down three years to the exciting event.
Rebecca comments: 'I am thrilled to help launch the Royal Mint's Countdown to London 2012 coin.The Olympic Games is just around the corner and this coin is a great way for the British public to show its support for the sports men and women who are already preparing for this ultimate sporting challenge.'
The 2009 UK Countdown to London 2012 £5 coin is the first in a series of four beautifully crafted coins to be launched annually from now until 2012 and is available in gold, silver and cupro-nickel.This year's coin displays the number three to mark the start of the 3,2,1 count down to London 2012, designed in harmony with images of swimmers racing to the finish line.The design is surrounded by a framework border to symbolise the new Olympic stadium as seen from above.The gold and silver versions of the coin are the first UK £5 coins to feature the Olympic rings and logo in full colour.
Speaking about the launch, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, 'The London Olympic Games is a once in a generation celebration for the whole of the UK, so I am delighted that the Royal Mint is playing its part.'
Dave Knight, Director of Commemorative Coin, added: 'We are truly honoured to be the official manufacturer and distributor of the London 2012 commemorative coin programme. This is a very exciting time for the Royal Mint and Great Britain.The Countdown to London 2012 coin is a great way for the British public to begin celebrating what will be a momentous sporting event.'
London 2012 Chairman Sebastian Coe commented, "We have reached an important moment in our life-cycle. We're officially the next Host City of the summer Games and we've passed the half way point in our preparations. There's much to do between now and 2012, but we're well on track and we're thrilled to be working with the Royal Mint to commemorate three years to go. As the excitement builds over the next three years, it is fantastic to know that the Royal Mint will be alongside us, helping the whole country to join in with our celebrations."
The London 2012 Olympic Games will be the 30th Olympiad of the modern era and in keeping with this only 4,000 of the gold Proof coins have been made. They are available now at £1,295 each. In addition to the gold Proof coin, a limited issue of 30,000 silver Proof coins have also been produced, each available to purchase for £54.95.500,000 cupro-nickel coins have been produced to Brilliant Uncirculated standard and are available for £9.95 each.
The 2009 UK Countdown to London 2012 £5 Coin is an Official Licensed Product of London 2012 and as such is presented in specific London 2012 packaging and features the official London 2012 logo.
For further information or to purchase a coin, please visit www.royalmint.com/london2012 or call the Royal Mint Customer Services Team on 0845 60 88 222 (UK).
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For media enquiries, please contact the Royal Mint Press Office on 020 7255 5478.
Notes to editors:
1. The Royal Mint is challenging the nation to come up with new designs for the 50 pence piece coin in celebration of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the country's most significant sporting events for this generation. This once in a lifetime opportunity to see your own artwork immortalised on the UK's coinage is open to all UK residents over the age of 13 years, so put pen to paper and get inspired. To find out more about the competition visit www.royalmintcompetition.co.uk. If you're under 13 years old or want to find out how your school can enter, visit www.coincompetition.co.uk
2.The Royal Mint has a history dating back over 1000 years.By the late thirteenth century the organisation was based in the Tower of London, and remained there for over 500 years. By 1812, the Royal Mint had moved out of the Tower to premises on London's Tower Hill. In 1967 the building of a new Royal Mint began on its current site in Llantrisant, South Wales.
3.There were estimated to be 27.9 billion United Kingdom coins in circulation at 31 March 2008, with a total face value of £3.6 billion - all manufactured by the Royal Mint.
4.1.3 billion United Kingdom coins were issued during 2007-08.
5.Of the higher denomination coins, it is the 20p piece that is most in demand - with more than 2.3 billion now in circulation.