In 2012, London will host the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the most prestigious sporting events in the world. To commemorate this auspicious occasion, the Royal Mint was joined by Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington OBE to launch the first Countdown Coin, a special £5 coin counting down three years to the exciting event.
Rebecca comments: "I am thrilled to help launch the Royal Mint’s Countdown to London 2012 coin. The Olympic Games is just around the corner and this coin is a great way for the British public to show its support for the sports men and women who are already preparing for this ultimate sporting challenge."
The 2009 UK Countdown to London 2012 £5 coin is the first in a series of four beautifully crafted coins to be launched annually from now until 2012 and is available in gold, silver and cupro-nickel.
This year’s coin displays the number three to mark the start of the 3,2,1 count down to London 2012, designed in harmony with images of swimmers racing to the finish line. The design is surrounded by a framework border to symbolise the new Olympic stadium as seen from above. The gold and silver versions of the coin are the first UK £5 coins to feature the Olympic rings and logo in full colour.
Speaking about the launch, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, "The London Olympic Games is a once in a generation celebration for the whole of the UK, so I am delighted that the Royal Mint is playing its part."
Dave Knight, Director of Commemorative Coin, added: "We are truly honoured to be the official manufacturer and distributor of the London 2012 commemorative coin programme. This is a very exciting time for the Royal Mint and Great Britain. The Countdown to London 2012 coin is a great way for the British public to begin celebrating what will be a momentous sporting event."
London 2012 Chairman Sebastian Coe commented, "We have reached an important moment in our life-cycle. We’re officially the next Host City of the summer Games and we’ve passed the half way point in our preparations.
There’s much to do between now and 2012, but we’re well on track and we’re thrilled to be working with the Royal Mint to commemorate three years to go.
As the excitement builds over the next three years, it is fantastic to know that the Royal Mint will be alongside us, helping the whole country to join in with our celebrations."
The London 2012 Olympic Games will be the 30th Olympiad of the modern era and in keeping with this only 4,000 of the gold Proof coins have been made. They are available now at £1,295 each.
In addition to the gold Proof coin, a limited issue of 30,000 silver Proof coins have also been produced, each available to purchase for £54.95.
500,000 cupro-nickel coins have been produced to Brilliant Uncirculated standard and are available for £9.95 each.
The 2009 UK Countdown to London 2012 £5 Coin is an Official Licensed Product of London 2012 and as such is presented in specific London 2012 packaging and features the official London 2012 logo.
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 history of the Royal Mint itself stretches back over 1100 years. There is an unbroken link from the scattered workshops of the moneyers of Anglo-Saxon London to a single mint within the Tower of London, from a purpose-built premises at Tower Hill to the huge modern coining plant in South Wales.
In April 1975 the Mint was established as a Government Trading Fund, operationally very similar to a government-owned company.