05 December 2018
The history of London’s royal palace and fortress, built almost 1,000 years ago by William the Conqueror, is at the heart of a new Tower of London coin collection announced by The Royal Mint.
The set of four commemorative coins will mark the ceremonies and legends that have endured to the present day, starting with The Legend of the Ravens, featuring the birds that live at the Tower of London and are the subject of centuries of legends.
Additional coins in the series will feature:
- the Crown Jewels
- the Yeoman Warders
- the Ceremony of the Keys
The Tower of London ravens
The ravens of the Tower of London are one of the most memorable parts of a trip to the Tower for many visitors. Ancient chronicles tell of King Bran Hen of Bryneich who upon his death requested his head should be buried on Gwynfryn (the 'White Mount'), the site of the Tower of London, giving rise to the legend that if the ravens ever leave, the fortress will fall.
Some say the birds remain because of Charles II whose astronomer John Flamsteed became annoyed by the birds getting in the way of his work. The king ordered their destruction, only to change his mind and fearful of the prophecy, decreed at least six ravens should remain at the Tower of London at all times – and there they have remained, even during years of war.
Tower of London coin design
The reverse design of each coin in the collection shows a section of the ancient walls and also features a special Tower mint mark, which is the first time this has appeared on a UK coin. This mint mark depicts the White Tower, demonstrating the link between the Tower of London and The Royal Mint, which operated within the fortress for centuries.
Nicola Howell, Director of Consumer Coin at The Royal Mint said of the new series: 'Everyone remembers the Tower of London, the grisly goings-on that we learn about at school, or exciting trips there to find out more about the past and see the Crown Jewels. The Tower contains so much British history – including that of The Royal Mint – that we had to mark this with a collection. We hope everyone enjoys finding out more about the myths and legends of the Tower, we certainly did!'
The Legend of the Ravens coin details (brilliant uncirculated)
Obverse design: Jody Clark
Reverse design: Glyn Davies
For more information, visit The Royal Mint’s website.