Approved by the Royal Household and the Government, the coin features relaxed, modern portraits of the couple, an approach also evident in the informal use of their names and the date of the wedding circulating their portraits. The obverse bears a portrait of Prince William’s grandmother, The Queen.
The coin has been designed by Mark Richards, Fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors, following an invitation- only tender process involving a handful of British sculptors. His submission was selected by the Royal Mint Advisory Committee, a panel made up of experts in art, design, history and heraldry, chaired at the time of the decision by Sir Christopher Frayling, former Rector of the Royal College of Art.
Commenting on his success Mark Richards said: “It’s a tremendous honour and privilege to have been chosen to design the Royal Wedding coin. As a sculptor I’m used to working in 3D, so my specific challenges were not only capturing the nuances of Catherine Middleton and Prince William’s features, but also faithfully rendering their expressions in such a small space. I was inspired by what I think is best summed up as the spirit of ‘friendship in love’. It was important to me to capture the relaxed intimacy of a modern couple, without compromising the historical significance of the wedding itself.”
Former Buckingham Palace spokesperson Dickie Arbiter said: “To capture a true image of one person on a coin is a feat in itself but to capture two people with such a depth of feeling as Mark Richards has of Prince William and Catherine Middleton is truly remarkable.”
Because of the coin’s official status, the Royal Mint has already received thousands of pre-orders with global demand expected to exceed more than 250,000. The official UK Royal Wedding Coin is only the second UK coin ever struck by the Royal Mint to celebrate this hugely important event, the first being that of Prince William’s parents The Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981.
Kevin Clancy, Director of the Royal Mint Museum said: “The Royal Mint has produced coins for the British monarchy for over 1,000 years, and while this latest coin features the country’s future King and Queen, it is actually a coin for the people who want to commemorate the Royal Wedding with their own piece of history.”
The official UK coin to commemorate Prince William and Catherine Middleton’s wedding is available now to pre order from the Royal Mint’s website www.royalmint.com priced at £9.99. The coin is also available to purchase in the precious metals silver, gold and platinum.
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For media enquiries, please contact the Royal Mint Press Office on 020 7853 2390.
Notes to Editors
The coin will become official UK tender with a denomination of £5 on 16th March. It will sell at £9.99 because it is a commemorative not circulating coin. They are designed to last forever as special mementos of historic British occasions. Its retail value is determined not according to its denomination, but by the quality of its finish, which is finer and of a higher standard than a circulating coin, retaining all of its original mint lustre. The commemorative coin comes in a specially designed and informative presentation pack. Precious metal versions of the £5 coin are available in silver, gold and platinum ranging from £55.50 to £5,450.00 complete with certificates of authenticity.
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.