The new designs, which are the first major overhaul of British coinage since the Brits went on the decimal monetary system 40 years ago, are the result of a nationwide open design competition. Dent, a professional graphic artist who is 26, swept the competition with his clever shield arrangement. And although the intention was to redesign only the minor coinage, (the Penny through the 50 Pence,) Mint authorities decided the include the £1 coin as well. The £1 (not shown) bears the entire shield design on its reverse. All of the new designs, like all British coins, bear the standard portrait of the Queen on the obverse.
The Royal Mint has set up a special section of its Web site to introduce the new coins. Here are a few highlights:
- Home Page For the New Designs
- Biography Page About Matthew Dent
- Video of the New Coins Being Introduced (Includes footage of coins being minted)
Photo courtesy of the British Royal Mint. Special thanks to Scott P. Richert, the About.com Guide to Catholicism, and Scott Purvis at CoinLink News, both of whom made me aware of this new issue simultaneously. (I was reading Scott P.'s wonderful numismatic news roundup when the email came in from Scott R. As they say in Britain, "great Scott!" =)