For years, the Pobjoy Mint struck all of the circulating and commemorative coinage for the Isle of Man, which is a self-governing entity within the United Kingdom. (Specifically, Isle of Man is a “Crown dependency,” roughly like a commonwealth or protectorate of Great Britain.)
However, the island recently ended its agreement with the Pobjoy Mint. (No real reason was given by either party other than It will now partner with the Tower Mint, which is now owned by the world-famous coin engraver and artist Raphael Maklouf.
The Tower Mint is no slouch compared to Pobjoy, both located in the British mainland. It has been in operation as a private mint for four decades and, in addition to its new commitment to the Isle of Man, it also strikes coins and medals for Andorra, Ghana, Gibraltar, and Tuvalu. Its agreement with the Isle of Man is set for 10 years.
The new partnership was kicked off on March 9th in a special ceremony wherein the very first new 50-pence coin—a gleaming proof version, shown above—was personally struck by the chief accountant of the Isle of Man Treasury, Paula Primrose. Subsequently, the Treasury’s investment and banking manager, Colin Campbell, also personally struck one of the coins. These new coins feature the latest effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, designed by artist Jody Clark. Across denominations ranging from 5 pence to 5 pounds, the coins’ reverse designs will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first election to the lower house of the legislature, the House of Keys.
Mr. Maklouf, who also participated in the striking ceremony, is perhaps best known for his own official design of the Queen from when she was younger, which circulated in the U.K., Australia, and other commonwealths from 1985 through 1998. It is still sometimes seen on certain commemorative issues produced since this time.
Aside from this new circulating coinage, the Tower Mint will (presumably) continue to strike the popular gold and silver Angel bullion coins (like the example shown, right) that have defined the Isle of Man’s coinage program for decades. The new circulating coins will be released on April 10th.
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