The Royal Mint have today released a new £5 coin which reflects on the Tower of London’s historic role as a state prison. The coin was created by the Royal Mint in collaboration with Historic Royal Palaces – the independent charity which cares for the Tower of London – and is the final coin in a collection of four commemorative Tower of London coins.
The coin’s design includes the inscription, ‘My Libertie Denied’ which was carved onto the wall of the Beauchamp Tower in 1581 by prisoner Thomas Miagh, who was accused of leading a rebellion against Queen Elizabeth I. The reverse design features a special Tower mint mark, which can also be found on the other coins within The Tower of London collection.
The Tower of London was built as a fortress and royal palace, but also served as a prison for those who were deemed to pose the greatest threat to national security. The first prisoner of the Tower of London was Ranulf Flambard, Bishop of Durham who was charged with embezzlement in 1100; although he was also the first person to escape the prison, just a year later in 1101. Other famous prisoners of the Tower include Anne Boleyn, Guy Fawkes and even Princess Elizabeth, who was later crowned Elizabeth I. The last people held at the Tower of London were the Kray twins in 1952.
Clare Maclennan, Divisional Director of Commemorative Coin at The Royal Mint said: “The final coin in our special Tower of London collection commemorates the history of the prisoners held at the Tower. Designer Timothy Noad explores the story of the prisoners themselves, by featuring a haunting piece of graffiti etched onto the Tower’s wall in the 16th century; ‘My Libertie Denied’, truly encapsulating the human side of what we think of today as the infamous prison.”
Emma Saunders, Head of Brand Licensing and Business Development at Historic Royal Palaces commented: “The Prisoners coin, the final release of what has been such a special collection, commemorates one of the most notorious functions of the Tower – as a prison. It is little known that many of the Tower’s prisoners sought to be remembered by leaving detailed and artistic carvings in the Tower’s stone walls. These graffiti, which can still be seen by visitors today, give us a visceral connection to this important part of the building’s history.”
|Coin title||The Tower of London Collection – The Infamous Prison 2020 UK £5 Brilliant Uncirculated Coin||The Tower of London Collection – The Infamous Prison 2020 UK £5 Silver Proof Coin||The Tower of London Collection – The Infamous Prison 2020 UK £5 Silver Proof Piedfort Coin||The Tower of London Collection – The Infamous Prison 2020 UK £5 Gold Proof Coin|
|Alloy||Cupro-nickel||925 Ag||925 Ag||916.7 Au|
|Obverse Designer||Jody Clark||Jody Clark||Jody Clark||Jody Clark|
|Reverse Designer||Timothy Noad||Timothy Noad||Timothy Noad||Timothy Noad|
|Edge Lettering||–||THE INFAMOUS PRISON||THE INFAMOUS PRISON||THE INFAMOUS PRISON|
|Maximum Coin Mintage||Unlimited||1510||410||135|