October 24, 2013 – The Royal Mint announced having created the first-ever United Kingdom legal tender Lunar coins, lending a uniquely British angle to an ancient Chinese tradition.
The Shengxiào Collection, named to honour the Chinese zodiac is the perfect way to wish good luck and fortune to its recipients, and the first coin available in the new series will celebrate the forthcoming Lunar Year of the Horse.
British Chinese artist Wuon-Gean Ho has been commissioned to create a dynamic and handsome design for the new coin. An artist of Chinese descent who was born in the UK, she works in many disciplines including printmaking, animation, performance and artist’s books. This is the first design Wuon-Gean Ho has produced for The Royal Mint.
Satellite view of the famous Uffington White Horse. Photo: NASA.
The striking new coin combines elements from both British and Chinese heritage. In the foreground of the design there is a powerful leaping horse, bringing to life the active characteristics of those born in the Year of the Horse – gregarious, charming, lively and strong. Beneath the horse’s feet lies the famous Uffington Horse, a pre-historic white horse carved into the chalk hills of Oxfordshire.
Great Britain / 10 GBP / 5oz 999 silver / 156.295g / 65.00mm / Design: Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS (obverse), Wuon-Gean Ho (reverse).
The new design will feature on a number of different coins, made from either 999.9 fine gold or in 999 fine silver. The range includes a Tenth-ounce Gold Brilliant Uncirculated Coin, a One Ounce Gold Proof Coin and a One Ounce Gold Bullion coin. In silver, there is the One Ounce Silver Proof Coin, a Five Ounce Silver Proof Coin and a One Ounce Silver Bullion Coin.
All the Brilliant Uncirculated and Proof coins are limited editions with each issue including the lucky number eight.
Shane Bissett, Director of Commemorative Coins at The Royal Mint said: “The Royal Mint has celebrated moments of national and cultural significance for over 1,000 years. Given our own lengthy heritage, we felt we were uniquely placed to apply our craftsmanship and artistic skills to another centuries-old tradition, that of giving zodiac coins at the Lunar New Year.
“Our new Lunar series will allow The Royal Mint to build on a hugely successful Olympic programme in Asia, and we hope that it becomes the perfect way to wish luck and prosperity to a loved one, to continue the tradition of exchanging gifts at the Lunar New Year or to simply spark an interesting collection.”
Designer of the first coin in the series, Wuon-Gean Ho says, “I wanted the design to draw upon my British and Chinese heritage, as my parents are from Malaysia and Singapore and I was raised in the UK. Although I am involved in the arts now, studying anatomy and closely observing animals for my degree in Veterinary Medicine was good training for this project. The Uffington Horse is part of Britain’s history as well as mine, as I grew up in Oxfordshire close to this famous chalk monument.”
For more information on the new UK Lunar Coins please visit the Royal Mint website.