Maritime Great, Mary Rose, Immortalised on UK £2 Coin

16 Feb 2011

Famous Tudor warship features on special £2 coin entering circulation this year

The Royal Mint is commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Mary Rose’s launch in Portsmouth in 1511 by issuing a £2 coin depicting the famous English warship, part of King Henry VIII’s Tudor battle fleet. This limited edition £2 coin will enter circulation this year, finding its way into the nation’s change up and down the country.

Not only is the £2 coin entering circulation but special commemorative versions have also been struck in the precious metals Gold and Silver. Created in strictly limited numbers, these coins are finished to a higher quality than a circulating coin, showing the design in perfect clarity. They are available to purchase today at www.royalmint.com

The coin was shown at the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth, home of the salvaged wreck, alongside Tudor coins raised from the sunken ship. It is released in the same year the Mary Rose Trust starts to lay the foundations on a new Mary Rose museum to once again bring together the ship’s remains with the 19,000 Tudor artefacts recovered with her in 1982. The Mary Rose, the Tudor Navy’s flagship was launched during King Henry VIII’s reign but sank when she listed too steeply and the gunports flooded during the Battle of the Solent in July 1545.

The coin depicts the ship in a design created by artist John Bergdahl, showing the grand Tudor warship in profile, in a similar scene to the only contemporary image that exists of the ship. The numerous flags and banners are recreated, flowing from tall masts with her armament of guns visible.

John Bergdahl explains the inspiration behind his design: “After a trip to the museum currently home to the Mary Rose, I was immediately inspired by the only acknowledged painting of this iconic vessel – an image that I used as the basis for my design.”

Commenting on the design Dr. Kevin Clancy, Head of Historical Services at the Royal Mint, said: “The Royal Mint is very pleased to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Mary Rose’s maiden voyage in 1511 on a special commemorative £2 coin. We were especially impressed with the way the designer captured the stature and presence of this great Tudor ship on the coin.”

Rear Admiral John Lippiett, Chief Executive of the Mary Rose Trust, said; “This elegant new coin is a fitting tribute to the world’s only surviving Tudor Warship and the finest collection of Tudor artefacts recovered with her. If everyone who found one of these Mary Rose £2 in their pocket were to donate the same amount to us at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard where she was built, then we would complete our outstanding appeal of £3m for the new £35 million Mary Rose Museum. Without this money, the future of this national icon is not yet secured”.

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

Images of the Mary Rose £2 coins are available upon request.

For more information about the Mary Rose please visit www.maryrose.org.

Notes to Editors

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 28.4 billion UK coins in circulation at 31 March 2010, with a total face value of £3.9 billion – all manufactured by the Royal Mint.

  • 1.2 billion UK coins were issued during 2009-10.

  • Of the higher denomination coins, it is the 20p piece that is most in demand – with more than 2.4 billion now in circulation.

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.

  • The new Mary Rose Museum 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.

  • For Mary Rose media enquiries, contact:Charli Beale, Bell Pottinger Business & Brand, cbeale@bell-pottinger.co.uk, 07800 582 266