As Britain builds towards the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London, The Royal Mint has struck precious metal variants of the £2 coin that marks the occasion, following on from the earlier issue of the Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) coin.
The Great Fire of London £2 coin captures the moment 350 years ago when devastation hit London and its inhabitants were forced to “leave all to the fire.” This dramatic event brought about destruction that would go on to shape the iconic skyline of the London we know today.
Anne Jessopp, Royal Mint’s director of commemorative coin, said: “The Royal Mint was based in the Tower of London at the time, and provided a safe haven when the Great Fire took hold, so it is fitting that we are to commemorate this famous event in British history with the creation of The Great Fire of London £2 coin. We are particularly proud that the honour of designing this coin has been won by Royal Mint designer, Aaron West.”
The coin design, by Royal Mint designer Aaron West, carries the fifth portrait of Her Majesty The Queen on its obverse. The coins, already available in BU editions, are now to be struck in limited edition presentation gold Proof (800 coins); silver Proof (7,500 coins); and silver Proof piedfort (3,500 coins) editions. The public can expect to see the circulating version of the design appear in their pocket change later this year.
Aaron West is a member of The Royal Mint’s design studio. After achieving a degree in Graphic Design, West worked in retail advertising, graphic design and teaching before taking up a career at The Royal Mint. This is his first commemorative U.K. coin design.
For this commemorative reverse, West has captured the devastating scenes of the time from the perspective of one of the Londoners seeking sanctuary on the Thames.
“I knew that researching the Great Fire of London wouldn’t be problematic as there is so much research material and literature on the subject. It’s such a well-known story,” he said. “I began with the skyline of London, looking at the modern and old to create the design’s central point. The whole scene is viewed as if from one of these boats, gazing back at the chaos on the shore.”