The 2017 Annual Precious Metals Sets feature the commemorative coins of the United Kingdom, marking significant occasions throughout the year, sharing their stories and great moments in coinage history.
- Contains 4.029 oz of Gold.
- Includes five coins: Two £5, two £2, and one 50p (see below).
- Limited presentation of only 100 sets.
- Comes in custom wooden display box with a certificate of authenticity.
- Obverse: Portrays the likeness of Queen Elizabeth II, designed by Royal Mint engraver Jody Clark.
- Reverse: Various designs (see images).
- Guaranteed by the Royal Mint.
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Each Proof Set includes five coins that commemorate the events of 2017:
- A £5 coin marks the 1000th anniversary of the coronation of King Canute, the Viking conqueror hailed the first "king of all England".
- A century of royal service is commemorated by a £5 coin marking the 100th anniversary of the creation of the House of Windsor.
- The 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen, one of the best-loved English novelists, is marked with a £2 coin.
- A £2 coin pays tribute to the aviators of the First World War and their sacrifices in the race for supremacy of the skies. The Royal Mint continues to work with Imperial War Museums as part of the program in commemoration of the First World War.
- The legacy of Sir Isaac Newton, genius of the Scientific Revolution and one of the most famous men ever to perform the role of Master of the Mint, is remembered with a 50p coin.
The minting of coins began in England around the end of the second century B.C. Around A.D. 650, coins were made by craftsmen called “moneyers” in London. In 886, during the reign of Alfred the Great, the London Mint was designated to be a single institution, though there were many other mints in operation around this time. In 1279 the London Mint was moved to the Tower of London where it remained for the next 500 years. Famed physicist Sir Isaac Newton was the Warden of the Mint in 1696 and as such was responsible for investigating cases of counterfeiting. Three years later he was made Master of the Mint, until his death in 1727, and was responsible for moving England from the Silver standard to the Gold standard in 1717.
The Royal Mint had outgrown its home in the Tower of London so during the 18th century the rickety wooden shacks the mint occupied were rebuilt to accommodate mechanized and rolling mills and coining presses and provide more space. Soon, however, the mint outgrew this new location and in 1809, the mint moved from the Tower of London to an adjacent site in East Smithfield called Tower Hill. By 1899, the Royal Mint was striking 100 million coins a year.
In 1967 it was announced that mint would move from its location at Tower Hill to Llantrisant, Wales, following Parliament’s decision to decimalize currency and in 1968 the first coins were officially struck by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the new location in Wales. In 1986, the Royal Mint celebrated 11 centuries of continuous minting. In 2009, the Royal Mint was vested into a government-owned company to provide greater operating and commercial freedom.
One unique aspect of the Royal Mint is a procedure known as the Trial of the Pyx, dates back to 1282 and ensures newly-minted coins meet required government standards. The trials have been held once a each year since their inception and have changed very little over time. These trials are presided over by a judge with a jury of expert assayers and were held at the Palace of Westminster before they were moved to the modern-day site at the Hall of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths. The ceremony was so named after the boxwood chest in which coins were placed for presentation to the jury.