Royal Mint unveil Benjamin Britten 50p coin

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03 September 2013
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imports_CCGB_benjaminbritten50pcoin_55140.png Benjamin Britten 50p coin
The Royal Mint has revealed the design for a 50p coin to mark the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten, which falls on 22 November 2013. ...
The Royal Mint has revealed the design for a 50p coin to mark the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten, which falls on 22 November 2013.

The Benjamin Britten 50p marks the first time that a composer has been featured on a British coin.

Designed by artist Tom Phillips CBE, RA, the coin features Tennyson’s words “Blow Bugle Blow” and “Set the Wild Echoes Flying”, set to music by Britten in Serenade for tenor, horn and strings. The name of the composer is framed in a double stave, referencing the piano on which Britten was a virtuoso.

Tom Phillips said: 'What I wanted the coin to speak of was music. Thus the stave soon entered the design… and his name married well with the stave. The natural accompaniment with Britten’s passion for poetry as our preeminent composer of opera and song, was some kind of key quotation.'

Kevin Clancy, Director Royal Mint Museum, said: 'Britten is one of the great British cultural figures of the 20th century so it is wholly appropriate that Tom Phillips, himself a composer, should have designed the coin to commemorate Britten’s birth.'

The commemorative coins come in a presentation folder that tells the story of Britten’s lasting legacy to classical music and includes reproductions of Britten’s original sheet music of his renowned film score, choral music and opera, complete with his hand-written notes. 

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