Giant Commemorative Coin Floated at Site Where Mary Rose Sank

02 Aug 2011

The Royal Mint marks 500th anniversary of maritime icon Mary Rose with floating coin at the ship’s resting place in the Solent

Floating Mary Rose Coin Where the ship sankThe Royal Mint today revealed the world’s first floating commemoration to mark the 500th anniversary of the maiden voyage of the Mary Rose. A three-metre replica of the current Mary Rose £2 coin was positioned on the exact spot in the Solent where the Tudor flagship sank in 1545, after 34 years of active service.

The giant coin, a reproduction of the £2 coin released by the Royal Mint earlier this year, was floated over the site where the ship sank and was subsequently raised in 1982. The floatation was overseen by Alexzandra Hildred, a member of the original diving and excavation team at the Mary Rose Trust, with the assistance of the Royal Navy Fleet Diving Squadron.

The Mary Rose £2 coin will find its way into our change this year. In addition, 1,511 commemorative precious metal versions of the coin have been struck in 22 carat gold, reflecting the year of the Mary Rose’s maiden voyage. The coins have also been struck in sterling silver and pristine, uncirculated versions are available to buy in limited numbers. To mark the event, a silver Mary Rose coin was donated by the Royal Mint to the Mary Rose Museum.

The Mary Rose £2 CoinShane Bissett, the Royal Mint’s Director of Commemorative Coin commented "We produced the Mary Rose coin as a tribute to the world’s only surviving Tudor warship – and hope it serves as a reminder of Britain’s rich heritage as a maritime nation. In our 1,000-year history, we have never ‘floated’ a coin before, but there seemed no better way to celebrate the 500th anniversary of such an iconic vessel. Collaborating with the Mary Rose Trust and the Royal Navy Fleet Diving Squadron to execute the idea at sea was an honour, as we remember our naval past and look to its future."

John Lippiett, Chief Executive of the Mary Rose Trust said "We are delighted to continue our relationship with the Royal Mint following production of the Mary Rose £2 coin. We have much work to do to secure the future of the ship and we are grateful to everyone who supports our fundraising drive to help us build the new Mary Rose Museum here in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Building work is underway and we plan to open it before the end of 2012. Our hope is that people will send a Mary Rose £2 coin back to us here in Portsmouth to help us achieve our target."

Lieutenant Commander Richard Watson, Chief of Staff at the Royal Navy Fleet Diving Squadron added "Not only does the Mary Rose play an important part in Britain’s military history, but the story of this Tudor warship appeals to naval personnel and civilians alike. We were able to combine some of our training with this task and are proud to help the Royal Mint commemorate the Mary Rose and hope that the new £2 coin helps keep her memory alive."

Visit www.royalmint.com/Discover/MaryRose/MaryRoseCoins for more information on the Mary Rose coin and www.maryrose.org for further information about the Mary Rose project.

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Editors Notes

For media enquiries, please contact the Royal Mint Press Office on 020 7853 2390.

Images available upon request.

About the Royal Mint

  • The Royal Mint has a history dating back over 1,000 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.

  • There were estimated to be 28.6 billion UK coins in circulation at 31 March 2011, with a total face value of £3.8 billion – all manufactured by the Royal Mint.

  • 1.1 billion UK coins were issued during 2010-11.

  • The Royal Mint’s Llantrisant site was recently chosen to host the Prime Minister David Cameron’s first government cabinet meeting in Wales.

About the Mary Rose

  • The Mary Rose is the only sixteenth century warship on display anywhere in the world. Launched in 1511, she was one of the first ships able to fire a broadside, and was a favourite of King Henry VIII.

  • After a long and successful career, she sank during an engagement with a French fleet in 1545. Her rediscovery and raising were seminal events in the history of maritime archaeology.

  • A dedicated Mary Rose museum in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, remains open while the ship hall housing the preserved wreck is temporarily closed during construction of the new Mary Rose Museum. Some of the amazing artefacts discovered with the great ship, remain on display.

  • The new Mary Rose Museum due to open late 2012 will, for the first time since her sinking, re-unite the ship and her contents, fully preserved and presented in a time capsule of Tudor life at sea.