Royal Mint £5 Crown Coin Keeps Big Ben Striking on Time

by Royal Mint on November 12, 2009 · 0 comments

For the first time in Big Ben’s 150 year history, a new £5 Crown, from the Royal Mint is being used to help London’s iconic clock keep time.  The 2009 Big Ben £5 Crown was today placed inside the movement of the Great Clock and will play an essential role in maintaining its famous accuracy.

2010 50 pence coin 2009 Royal Mint Big Ben £5 Crown Coin – CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

The coin change-over forms part of Big Ben’s 150th Anniversary celebrations, with the new £5 Crown, one of the official London 2012 licensed coins, replacing some of the pre-decimal pennies which have acted as weights inside the clock since 1859. This is the first time any of the coins inside the clock have been changed.

As part of the Royal Mint’s collection celebrating London 2012, a further 100,000 of the commemorative coin have been specially minted by the Royal Mint to help the public celebrate Big Ben’s momentous anniversary and are available now to purchase from


Mike McCann, Keeper of the Great Clock commented: "There is a long and historic relationship between Big Ben and the UK’s coins. Few people realise the technical role the old pennies have played inside the clock.

For 150 years, coins have been used to adjust the time of the clock – adding or subtracting them effects the pendulum’s centre of mass and the rate at which it swings. Using the new Royal Mint Big Ben Crown is a great way to celebrate this relationship.  

The fact that Big Ben is still so iconic for Londoners and indeed, the nation, is testament to its engineering genius.  I am thrilled that The Royal Mint has decided to celebrate our country’s achievements with the launch of a special coin."


Big Ben Coin2009 marks 150 years since the completion of the Clock Tower, the starting of the Great Clock and the first time the Great Bell’s strikes were heard.


Dave Knight, Director of Commemorative Coin at The Royal Mint commented: "We thought this was the perfect way to help celebrate 150 years of Big Ben — one of the country’s most iconic landmarks — and the historic usage of coins inside the clock.

We are honoured to be allowed to place one of the new Royal Mint £5 Crowns inside the clock itself.  In the run up to London 2012, it is apt that a coin celebrating this momentous event becomes part of London’s history"


The 2009 Royal Mint Big Ben £5 Crown is an official Licensed Product of London 2012, highlighting the achievements, physical character and identity of Great Britain in the lead up to the great event. The clock face of the Palace of Westminster on this coin symbolises democracy and the key role Britain has played through its Parliament in bringing democracy to the world.  The ‘Nations touch at their summits’ quotation, is a way of referring to the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games as the pinnacle of sporting achievement.

For further information or to purchase a coin, please visit, write to: The Royal Mint, FREEPOST, NAT23496, PO Box 500,Llantrisant, Pontyclun, CF72 8YT, or call the Royal Mint Customer Services Team on:

  • 0845 60 88 222 (Customers in the UK and Ireland)
  • International FREEPHONE 01-866-519-7298 (USA)
  • International FREEPHONE 1-866-924-0861 (Canada)

2009 Royal Mint Big Ben £5 Crown Coin Specifications






28.28 gms


38.61 mm

Designer (Reverse)

Shane Greeves

Designer (Obverse)

Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS

Issuing authority


Additional information

London 2012 logo featured in colour


About The Royal Mint

The Royal Mint is a department of government and its primary responsibility remains the provision of the United Kingdom coinage. Its reputation, however, extends beyond this and internationally it has a reputation for making some fascinating coins for over 100 countries.

The Royal Mint has a history dating back over 1000 years. By the late thirteenth century the organisation was based in the Tower of London, and remained there for over 500 years. By 1812, the Royal Mint had moved out of the Tower to premises on London’s Tower Hill. In 1967 the building of a new Royal Mint began on its current site in Llantrisant, South Wales. In April 1975 the Mint was established as a Government Trading Fund, operationally very similar to a government-owned company.

There were estimated to be 28.2 billion United Kingdom coins in circulation at 31 March 2009, with a total face value of £3.6 billion — all manufactured by the Royal Mint. 1.3 billion United Kingdom coins were issued during 2008-09.

Big Ben facts

  • The Great Bell weighs 13.7 tonnes
  • The Clock Tower is over 96m high and 12m square
  • The name Big Ben was first given to the Great Bell in the Clock Tower
  • The distance travelled each year by the minute hand is the equivalent to 190km
  • Coins have been used as weights since 1859 and are stacked on the pendulum of Big Ben to regulate the clock. 

London 2012 facts

  • The Olympic Park under construction in east London is approximately the same size as Hyde Park
  • Around 15,000 athletes will compete at the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in 2012
  • 9 million tickets will go on sale for the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in 2011

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