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Art and design

How coinage looks, the symbols and imagery used, have been important from the very first coins made some 2500 years ago. Just as they reflect the economics and politics of a culture, so they also reflect the artistic trends and the technical skills of any given age.

The first coins made in Britain 2000 years ago are remarkable not only for what they tell us about who issued them but also for what they tell us about the artistic abilities of those who made them. From that time to the present day the British coinage represents a commentary on British art and design. Whether through the quality of portraiture, the use of lettering or the ways in which the nation has been symbolised, the coinage has provided a canvas for some of Britain’s most accomplished artists.