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New Coins Honor Prince George
By Dr. Kerry Rodgers, World Coin News
August 20, 2013

This article was originally printed in World Coin News.
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As most of the world now knows, at 1624 hours UT on July 22, The Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to an 8-pound, 6-ounce boy who immediately became third in line to the British throne. Two days later the proud parents announced the name of the new prince as George Alexander Louis.

The naming of the new arrival climaxed a year-long royal baby media frenzy. It also inspired Commonwealth mints to complete long-prepared coin designs that could now include the names of Baby Cambridge.

The RAM, Perth, RCM and, of course, the Royal Mint itself all have designs in the offing. None were completed in time for inclusion in the current issue of WCN. For its part, The Royal Canadian Mint issued a statement congratulating their Royal Highnesses on the birth of their son and announcing an issue of special commemorative coins was near to completion. Perhaps some of these assorted designs might appear in October.

Some mints were never fussed about the baby’s name. They had coins ready to go the moment it became known the babe was a prince rather than a princess. Pobjoy was one such. It simply added privy marks to three coins it had struck to mark the Royal Wedding in 2011 and 2012.

A blue stork and baby now appear on the reverse of the £2 issued in 2012 by South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands that showed the newly-weds kissing on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. Two versions of the 38.60 mm, 28.28 g coin are available in BU cupronickel and .925 fine proof silver. Mintages are unlimited and 10,000 respectively.

From the British Virgin Islands blue baby footprints and date of birth grace the reverses of two coins issued for the 2011 wedding. One shows the Duchess of Cambridge, the other the Duke. Both 38.60 mm, 28.28 g coin coins come as BU cupronickel $1 and .925 fine proof silver $10. Mintages are unlimited and 10,000 respectively.

MDM Münzhandelsgesellschaft mbH was also quick on the mark with two issues for the Republic of Seychelles: a 50 mm, 3 oz .925 silver proof 25 rupees and an 11 mm, .999 fine gold proof 50 rupees.

The reverse design of each shows William’s and Catherine’s initials along with a stylized image of their baby’s feet and St. Edward’s crown. The design uses “K” for Catherine’s initial rather that the “C” of her official monogram. On the silver 25 rupees the feet enclose a heart-shaped blue Swarovski crystal. The pair comes as a set along with the first day cover. Mintage is just 500.

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For its part the Royal Mint was well ahead of the pack. For a number of years new British parents – or grandparents – have been able to purchase a silver version of the British penny bearing the year date of a baby’s birth. Back on June 4, the Mint announced that 2013 babies born on the same day as the future monarch would be presented with a 2013 silver penny gratis. New parents have 60 days from July 22 to register on the Mint’s Facebook site.

At the time of Prince George’s birth the Mint announced a specific commemorative: a 38.61 mm 28.28 g sterling silver £5 proof. This the first time the Royal Mint has struck a coin to commemorate any royal birth. The reverse features the celebrated St. George and the Dragon design by Benedetto Pistrucci. This image was commonplace among sovereigns of the Empire for 200 years, but the last time it was struck in silver was for the coronation of King Edward VII, Prince George’s Great-great-great-great-grandfather. Mintage is 10,000.

In launching the coin, Shane Bissett, Director of Commemorative Coin at The Royal Mint, commented, “Even we are surprised by the fact that the Prince of Cambridge’s name was announced just yesterday, and that the artists of The Royal Mint had already created a coin that bears the image of his namesake.”

Also from the Royal Mint come a specially struck Royal Birth 2013 silver proof £1 and a “Royal Birth 2013 UK Coins Limited Edition Definitive Set.” To your reporter’s untutored eye the latter product, at least, looks like the regular year set dressed-up in Royal Birth packaging, but I could be wrong.

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