Lennon Beats Historical Heavyweights to Become a Great Briton

29 Oct 2010

Beatlemania alive and well as Liverpool legend wins public vote to be immortalised on a coin.

In what would have been his seventieth year, music icon John Lennon has beaten a line-up of historical figures including Emmeline Pankhurst, Jane Austen and John Logie Baird to become the next Great Briton celebrated on a coin.

For the first time in its 1,000 year history, the Royal Mint asked the public to decide who should join the likes of William Shakespeare, Sir Winston Churchill, Charles Darwin and Florence Nightingale on its series of coins commemorating British luminaries of the past. Over 30,000 votes were cast with the vast majority – 27,874 (just over 92%) – nominating Lennon as the icon most deserving of a place in monetary history.

The Beatle benefited from huge support generated online, with music lovers harnessing the power of internet fan groups and Twitter to make their collective voice heard.

Lennon’s iconic sixties image has now been captured by the Royal Mint on a silver £5 Alderney coin, which is available to purchase from today. In addition, the Royal Mint is planning to produce a one-off, 24 carat gold version of the coin to be presented to the John Lennon Estate.

Voting began on 15th July and continued for a fortnight on a special Royal Mint website. Lennon’s nearest rival, with just 4.2% of the vote, was literary heavyweight Jane Austen. Emmeline Pankhurst, John Logie Baird, Sir Douglas Bader and Sir Walter Raleigh were also nominated for the public vote.

Commenting on the result Dave Knight, Director of Commemorative Coin at the Royal Mint, said: “It’s entirely fitting that John Lennon has been chosen by the public in what would have been his seventieth year. The massive proportion of the vote he received shows clearly just how much his untimely death still resonates with the nation. He ranks alongside, and even ahead of, some of the greatest names in history and the Royal Mint is proud to commemorate a genuine British legend. ”

The coin is available to buy online from www.royalmint.com/johnlennon priced at £44.99.

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For media enquiries, please contact the Royal Mint Press Office on 0845 600 50 18

Images of the John Lennon £5 coin are available upon request

Notes to Editors

Great Britons ‘John Lennon’ £5 Silver coin

Specifications

Denomination

£5

Issuing Authority / Country

Alderney

Alloy

Cupro-nickel

Weight

28.28g

Diameter

38.61mm

Designer (Reverse)

Danuta Solowiej-Wedderburn

Designer (Obverse)

Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS

Production Standard

Proof

Maximum Coin Mintage

5,000

Royal Mint Facts

  • 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 28.2 billion UK coins in circulation at 31 March 2009, with a total face value of £3.6 billion – all manufactured by the Royal Mint

  • 1.3 billion UK coins were issued during 2008-09

  • Of the higher denomination coins, it is the 20p piece that is most in demand – with more than 2.4 billion now in circulation. For further details please contact the Royal Mint Press Office on 0845 600 50 18.

About the John Lennon Alderney £5 Coin

  • The John Lennon Alderney £5 coin is a new coin to compliment the Great Britons series that was introduced in 2006 and includes 24 coins featuring famous Britons.

  • John Lennon was selected from six shortlisted Great Britons by a public poll on the Royal Mint’s website in June 2010.

  • The silver coin has an RRP of £44.99 + P&P and is available directly from www.royalmint.com or by calling +44 (0)845 60 88 222

  • The medallion, which is struck in solid sterling silver to Proof quality, features Her Majesty The Queen’s portrait on the obverse side. The reverse side features the iconic face of John Lennon, which is represented in the same style as the previous coins in the Great Briton series.