Every year on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, nations around the world remember those brave men and women who lost their lives while serving in the military. In commemoration of this the Royal Mint has every year, since 2012, issued a special Remembrance Day Alderney Crown. The 2016 design has now been revealed.
Although meant to remember those who gave their lives during armed conflict, the date itself is a reference of the Armistice of Compiègne, which officially declared the secession of hostilities during World War I on “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918”. Even though the war would not officially end for another six months when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on the 28th of June 1919.
The red poppy flower is the traditional symbol for Remembrance day, also called Armistice day elsewhere or Veteran's day in the US, and features prominently on the reverse design of this coin. The coins' designer, Royal Mint designer and engraver Thomas Docherty, was inspired to his design by a wreath that lies at The Royal Mint’s on-site war memorial at Llantrisant, South Wales.
The reverse design features a stunningly rendered wreath of red and black poppy flowers with somber grey leaves. The wreath itself received a colour finish while the coin's fields and legend are left a traditional proof. The legend is inscribed in a semi-circle along the rim, to the right of the coin and reads : “THEIR NAME LIVETH FOR EVERMORE”.
The inscription is a reference to a passage from the Apocryphal Book of Ecclesiasticus 44:1-14 which is often used at memorial services. The quote was popularized by famed English novelist and poet Rudyard Kipling, who was devastated by the death of his son in World War I. As a member of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission he championed the use of the quote as an inscription on war memorials. The full quote reads :
Their seed shall remain for ever, and their glory shall not be blotted out. Their bodies are buried in peace; but their name liveth for evermore. The people will tell of their wisdom, and the congregation will shew forth their praise.
Mr Docherty remarked on his design :
This wreath is not only personal to us at The Royal Mint but also reflects the ‘everyman’ we all commemorate on Remembrance Day; from the wreath-layers to the poppy wearers all over our country. I wanted to paint the colours of the poppies boldly and vibrantly, hopefully emphasizing that the poppy is a symbol of remembrance, but also one of hope for the future.
The coin's obverse is prominently anchored by Ian Rank-Broadley's renowned portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II at it's centre. The obverse legend is inscribed along the rim and reads : “ALDERNEY”, “FIVE POUNDS”, “ELIZABETH II” and “2016”.
The coin is made available in three varieties this year. Firstly there is a special piedfort silver proof coin struck from sterling(.925 Fineness) silver. 2015 saw the first piedfort issue for the remembrance crowns, and the Royal Mint must have found success with it as they are choosing to release another for 2016. The double thick piedfort strike tips the scales at 56.56 gram(1.9950 oz) at a standard crown size of 38.61 mm(1.52 inch).This coin carries a limited mintage of 1000 coins and is released at a pricetag of £160.00(US$196.50) each.
The second coin is a standard silver proof crown, identical to the piedfort in every aspect except for the standard thickness and weight of 28.28 gram. The silver proof crown has a limited mintage of 2016 coins in this format and are available for £80.00(US$98.25) each. Both the silver issues are shipped in a Royal Mint branded black clamshell presentation case, along with a information leaflet.
Then finally there is a brilliant uncirculated £5 coin in a blister pack presentation, released for £17.00(USD21.00) each. This last coin is a cupro-nickel strike that weighs 28.28 gram and is the same size as the first two coins. The card that the coin is shipped in has the quote “the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month” written on the front.
It is worth noting as well that the Royal Mint has pledged to donate 2.5% of the recommended retail price of these coins to the Imperial War Museum. Despite the hefty pricetag, at almost a hundred dollars for less than an ounce of silver, the coins are brilliantly designed and well worth the effort as they will make a impactful addition to any modern coin collection.