The Royal Mint recently released a series of new coins for 2016 including a £2 with a representation of Hamlet’s court jester Yorick’s skull to mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. William Shakespeare is also known as “The Bard of Avon.” Perhaps the greatest writer ever lived, a national icon and titan of English literature. Shakespeare is believed to have passed away on his birthday, April 23, 1616, at his native Stratford-upon-Avon.
The Royal Mint has so far released 11 coins in this series, two of them are gold proof coins and 9 are silver proof coins. These coins have been endorsed by world-leading experts at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and are the only official United Kingdom coins to mark this anniversary.
These coins are having the variety of designs resembling his work; the skull placed next to a thorny rose represents his tragedies, the history plays are represented by a £2 coin with a crown design, and his comedy works are reflected by a motif of a jester’s hat. Other new £2 coin shows the London skyline ablaze to mark the 350th Anniversary of The Great Fire of London in 1666.
The latest coin released by Royal Mint to mark the 400th anniversary of Bard’s death is a commemorative £50 silver proof piece. The coin is the grand finale of its 2016 coin series. The reverse side is designed by John Bergdahl and observe side by Jody Clark, a seasoned coinage artist John who has perfectly captured the two sides of Shakespeare – comedy and tragedy. There is actually no definitive proof of how Shakespeare had looked, but the portraits are based on the popular perception of his looks.
This type of commemorative coins are generally treasured and retained for their aesthetic, collectable or rarity value, by those who have an eye for the detailed hand-finished processes and the ultimate skills used to make them. These coins struck by Royal Mint are legal tender whether commemorative or circulating. But only circulating legal tender coins are designed to be spent and traded. But this being a commemorative coin, banks, post offices and shops will not accept.
Having denomination of £50, the mintage of this coin is limited to 15,000. This is .999 proof silver coin, weighing 31.00 grams and 31.00 mm in diameter. And as the Royal Mint describes, it has “Brilliant Uncirculated” quality.