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Jubilee celebrations

The reign of Her Majesty The Queen has now seen more Jubilees than that of any other British monarch, presiding in her 70 years over periods of great national change and prosperity. Plans are now well underway for our national programme of activities to commemorate the Queen’s long reign and the many changes to the country throughout it. We will be celebrating the achievements of the nation, exploring the Royal Mint’s role in past Jubilees, and bringing together people up and down the country to celebrate this momentous occasion.

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Judging has begun for our short story competition, which received over 500 entries. These will shortly be sent to our distinguished panel of judges and we hope to announce the winner in March. We are also looking forward to launching our second annual medal competition, aimed at undergraduate students and recent graduates. Entrants are asked to design a medal inspired by Her Majesty The Queen and the changes that have occurred during her remarkable reign. Entrants are given a free hand to explore any topic relating to the theme or subject, but inspiration and resources will be available on our website. Our Museum Director, Dr Kevin Clancy, says ‘We are excited to see the creative ways entrants interpret the Platinum Jubilee design brief and look forward to producing a medal worthy of such an incredible milestone in the life of the nation and of the Queen herself.’

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Our Exhibitions Manager is working hard to create a brand new temporary exhibition in the Royal Mint Experience. The exhibition, which explores previous Royal Jubilees and the coins the Royal Mint has struck to commemorate them, features new interactive and visual displays which demonstrate the meaning and symbolism contained within the various aspects of the coins’ design. It opens on 6th February and you can book tickets to see the exhibition on the Royal Mint website.

Our reminiscence box project continues to grow and expand as we move into celebrating the Platinum Jubilee. Many of us have only ever known Her Majesty The Queen as monarch throughout our lifetimes, but those who witnessed the beginning of her reign in 1952 can attest to the memorable nature of the milestone. This generation, for whom the Queen’s presence has been an enduring comfort, celebrated with her the Silver, Golden, and Diamond Jubilees and have a wealth of treasured memories from each of them. Handling and discussing the objects associated with these events can be a positive and nostalgic experience and, as part of our celebrations, we have also re-developed and expanded our hugely successful reminiscence project. Care homes can register their interest for the new sessions by emailing us at borrowabox@royalmintmuseum.org.uk

Toolroom store

This month our collections team have been busy in the Museum store. We have more than 40,000 pieces of tooling, running in an almost-unbroken sequence from the middle of the 17th century and covering the coins and medals struck by the Royal Mint since that time.

For each design that is represented in the collection, a series of tools is created as details are applied, and blemishes removed, in stages before the final die is created.

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All of that heavy tooling needs specialist storage, and our dedicated Collections Access Officer is currently working to re-organise this part of the collection, ensuring everything is recorded, cleaned, coated and put away in its proper order. We are particularly excited about this project as the various phases of it have been going on behind the scenes for the past 7 years and we are finally nearing completion!

BBC

Our Information and Research Manager, Chris Barker, did a star turn and was featured on BBC’s Bargain Hunt this month. In a short segment, Chris spoke to the auctioneer and presenter, Christina Trevanion, about the process of making money and gave a glimpse of some of the highlights of our collection. You can re-watch the fascinating segment via BBC iPlayer, here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0b9r5h2?

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New acquisitions

In order to maintain as complete a record as possible of the coins and medals struck by the Royal Mint, our collections are constantly growing. The largest proportion of our new acquisitions come directly from the Royal Mint factory, but we also receive artwork, plaster models and master tools of all new designs for coins and medals struck by the Royal Mint.

To enhance the collection further, in line with our collections development policy, we regularly acquire objects relating to British and overseas coin and medals produced since 1662 from auctions and the numismatic trade. This month, we are pleased to show you five exciting new additions.

The two bronze medals below were acquired recently and feature engraving tools and a fly-press in operation.

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Nicolaus De Launay, Mint Director Paris 1719, featuring a fly-press in operation.

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Pierre Joseph Tiolier (1763-1819) Mint engraver, by N. Pierre Tiolier, with engraving tools below inscription.

We are always keen to strengthen the representation of the iconic numismatic theme of Britannia in the collection. To this end, the three medals below featuring Britannia were also recently acquired for the collection.

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Britannia mourns the death of Sir Ralph Abercromby bronze medal, 1801.

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Britannia celebrates the abdication of Napoleon, silver medal, 1814.

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Britannia ‘England’s Perseverance’, Bethnal Green Vols, silver medal, 1814.

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