Commemorative Coin Designs – The Best so Far

[KJB - image by Mik]
[KJB - image by Mik]


  Commemorative coins.  Everyone will obviously have their own personal favourites when it comes down to it, but there are several designs which most of us would agree are the very best.  Of course, some of these feature truly complex and mind-boggling pictures, yet others relish in using something comparatively plain and simple.  Both of these formats can work really well and there are superb examples to be discovered in either camp.

  Here are some of the most universally loved designs from our modern British coinage -

Kew Gardens Fifty Pence
  Yes, we are all well aware that Kew is the ‘king of fifty pences’, but let’s put all of this aside for the moment and concentrate on its design.  It is a truly powerful composition with the pagoda running straight down the centre of the coin whilst the vines add a beautiful subtlety to it all.  A nice bit of juxtapositioning!  Good job Christopher Le Brun.
Jemima Puddleduck Fifty Pence
Again, value is irrelevant here….  There is something strangely alluring about Jemima the duck.  The graceful curve of her neck, the twinkle in her eye……  The Puddleduck coin is actually really pretty and is by far the nicest looking one to emerge from the Beatrix Potter posse.
D-Day Fifty Pence
This is quite a busy design with a lot of heavy linework and it is genuinely striking coin.  It is also the sort of picture where you keep seeing different elements you had failed to notice before.  A superb design for helping us all to remember a truly defining moment of the Second World War.
Trinity House Two Pound Coin
A fine specimen of a coin!  And it shows us just how well a relatively plain design can work when it is done properly.  Probably the best piece of minimalism to appear on a coin to date.  A lighthouse – nice and simple.
[Triathlon - image by Mik]
[image by Mik]

Triathon Fifty Pence

All of the Olympic fifty pences were created by members of the public.  And Triathlon is one of the best designs of all.  It is another nice, simple composition.  The silhouetted figures get the job done marvellously.  They tell us all we need to know with very little effort. 

Offside Explained Fifty Pence

Probably the only British coin to feature what could essentially be seen as Abstract art.  Working on the principle of using an illustration to explain the much misunderstood offside ruling, this is a coin that genuinely stands out from the (football) crowd.

King James Bible

Another thoroughly handsome coin!  And as far as two pounds go, it is probably one of the finest we’ve had.  Writing can look really nice in a design if it is done well and this has been done very well.  The text may only be short, but the style of it is lovely and it manages to capture the whole meaning of this commemorative perfectly.


[image by Mik]

[image by Mik]

Isaac Newton

This has to be the most intricately designed coin we have had so far.  Stephen Hawking was a close contender, but Newton still pips it at the post when it comes to painstaking detail.  Utterly beautiful.  It just shines like some kind of magical gem.


© Article and images (except where stated) copyright Mik Smith 2019


1 comment

  • Thanks Mik. I wonder if this translation into English was the official attempt to depose the Prime Position of the Vulgate?

    Roger Charlesworth

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