The Royal Mint in the United Kingdom is issuing a special £5 coin honouring 150 years of The Salvation Army. The coin is to be struck for Alderney – one of the Channel Islands situated between the south coast of England and France. A Royal Mint representative says that, having made contact with their colleagues around the world, they believe this is the first Salvation Army coin created by an official mint.
The first limited edition sterling silver coin was minted on Wednesday 27 May by Lieut-Colonel Eddie Hobgood (International Congress Coordinator) and the second by Major John Murray (International Headquarters Communications and Literary Secretary). The two visitors were also given opportunity to speak to the team involved in the coin production, explaining the history of The Salvation Army and its current ministry in 126 countries.
The Royal Mint’s Director of Commemorative Coin and Medals, Shane Bissett, says: 'This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the 150th anniversary and evolution of this much-loved organisation - still bringing hope to people today.' Lieut-Colonel Hobgood adds, 'The Salvation Army is grateful to The Royal Mint for its extraordinary recognition in this, our 150th year.'
The reverse design for this special 150th anniversary coin was created by Laura Clancy, one of The Royal Mint’s talented designers. Laura studied Three-dimensional Crafts at the University of Brighton and has previously taught art and metalwork. Her work for The Royal Mint includes various team projects such as works to commemorate the Royal Air Force, the 90th anniversary of the First World War and the Portrait of Britain Collection.
Laura's design includes the familiar Salvation Army shield and a laurel wreath. A Royal Mint press release explains that the design was 'inspired by the cheering warmth and familiarity of the Salvation Army brass band playing carols, a distinctive feature of any British high street in the run-up to Christmas'. It seeks to make the viewer 'think more deeply about the organisation, and the tireless good work that its volunteers are engaged in all year round'.
'I felt honoured to work on the design for The Salvation Army coin,' says Laura. 'It was an opportunity to learn more about the brass bands I remember on wintry days, their tunes warming up the cold and gently letting everyone around know that they are there. I wanted to create a design that commemorates their achievements. Something classic, celebratory and with something we all know and recognise at the heart of it.'
As with all official British coinage, the 'obverse' side – the 'head' side – contains a portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the year. The Salvation Army coin is one of the last to feature the fourth portrait of the Queen (the fifth portrait since her ascension to the throne in 1952 came into use on new coins in circulation from March 2015).
The coin is being released in two forms, a cupro-nickel version (similar metal content to all silver-coloured UK coins) and a limited-edition sterling silver version. The cupro-nickel coin will sell for £13 and the silver coin – of which only 1,500 are being minted – will cost £80. The coins are available to purchase direct from the Royal Mint and will also be for sale at the SP&S Shop at The Salvation Army's international congress in July.
The Royal Mint has an unbroken history of minting British coinage for more than 1,000 years. By the late 13th century the organisation was based in the Tower of London, moving out of the Tower to premises on London’s Tower Hill in 1812. In 1967 the building of a new Royal Mint began on its current site in south Wales, UK. It has a tradition of making medals and commemorative coins, including all 4,700 victory medals for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.