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11 Oct 2016

The Battle of Hastings 1066 – it’s when William the Conqueror beat King Harold to change the timeline of Britain forever, and the date most quoted by Britons when asked which one they remember best from school. The Royal Mint, maker of coins for over 1,000 years for British monarchs including both William and Harold, is to strike

5 million 2016 Battle of Hastings 50p pieces which will be making their way into the nation’s change over the next few weeks.

Andrew Mills, The Royal Mint’s Director of Circulating Coin, said: “1066 is arguably one of the most famous dates in English history. As we head towards the 950th anniversary of The Battle of Hastings on 14 October, it is apt that The Royal Mint should now be releasing these special 50p coins into circulation to commemorate this significant historical event.

“It is entirely possible that coins struck by The Royal Mint will have made their way onto the battlefield itself, in the purses of King Harold’s soldiers - incredible for the team here to think about, since we are still making the monarch’s coinage today, all those centuries later!”

The 50p coin features a reverse design by renowned sculptor John Bergdahl, and depicts what is said to be the famous fate of King Harold. John Bergdahl said: “The Bayeux Tapestry formed the inspiration for my design, as it is the only real visual record of the battle. The figure I have used in the composition is based on images thought to be King Harold, with the famous arrow to the eye.”

The Royal Mint’s Battle of Hastings coin carries the fifth portrait of Her Majesty The Queen on its obverse, and has also been struck in a range of limited edition gold proof (350 coins) and silver proof (3,000 coins) editions, as well as unlimited ‘mint condition’ brilliant uncirculated versions.

The designer

Seasoned coinage artist John Bergdahl has created a number of designs for The Royal Mint covering a variety of themes, celebrating royal occasions including the birth of Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte, commemorating the First World War, and recalling important events in our history such as anniversaries of the launch of the Mary Rose and the creation of the Magna Carta.

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