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The E-Sylum (10/13/2013)

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The official blog of The Royal Mint published a great article October 9th, 2013 profiling coin designer Christopher Ironside, his famous Britannia designs, and his wife's role in posing for her husband. -Editor

It’s been an exciting week for everyone here at The Royal Mint, and fans of the coins we are proud to make. Not only did we announce the design for the new coins that celebrate the christening of Prince George of Cambridge, but we were also delighted to host the BBC One Show on Monday evening.

They were here to broadcast live from The Royal Mint as we pushed the button to start production of a new 2013-dated 50 pence piece that is going into circulation to commemorate the centenary of Christopher Ironside. Born in 1913, he was the man who designed the new coins that were introduced when our coinage went decimal back in 1971.

British gold 5 ounces

It was a very special occasion, as our guest of honour was none other than Mrs. Jean Ironside, Christopher’s widow. She was able to catch the first coin off the press, which we placed in a capsule and presented to her as a very personal memento.

The new 2013 50p features Christopher Ironside’s Royal Arms design, which was the runner-up to his winning Britannia for the first 50p produced in 1969. To celebrate his centenary, the Royal Arms design now appears on a circulating coin for the first time since its creation some 44 years ago.

Jean Ironside posing as Britannia Earlier in the show, they ran a fascinating piece on the story behind Christopher Ironside’s designs for the decimal coinage, and the role that Jean Ironside played in the design of a female British icon. To help her husband create the familiar depiction of Britannia that graced the 50p piece for years to come and can still be found in our pockets today, Mrs Ironside herself posed as Britannia, using a ruler as the trident!

Living Britannia Statue We set up some human statues in various locations around the UK, in the pose that can be seen on the 2013 Britannia proof range.

To read the complete article, see: Revealing the secrets of Ironside’s decimal coin designs (

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