On this day: Legendary coin engraver born 200 years ago
Today is the birthday of Benedetto Pistrucci, creator of one of the world’s most highly revered gold coin designs.
Born in Italy on 29 May 1784, Pistrucci moved to England in 1815 where he became Chief Medallist at the Royal Mint.
Under the laws of the day, foreigners were technically ineligible for the top job. However, in the words of the Mint Master, his skills “place him above all competition”.
Pistrucci’s reputation in London soared with the creation of a wax model of England’s patron saint, St George, for aristocrats Lord and Lady Spencer.
He created designs for Britain’s Great Recoinage of 1816, suggesting St George and the Dragon for a new version of the sovereign – a gold coin valued at one pound.
Pistrucci’s design showed St George as a Greek horseman mounted on a Parthenon-style horse slaying a dragon. The famous coin made its appearance in 1817 after Britain’s victory at Waterloo.
Seen here on the very first sovereign produced at The Perth Mint, Benedetto Pistrucci’s ‘St George and the Dragon’ design is considered a timeless masterpiece.
The result is a masterpiece of numismatic art, a design combining such grace and dramatic impact that more than 200 years later it still ranks as one of the best loved of all British coin designs.
Australia boasts an emphatic connection with Pistrucci’s iconic reverse. It was struck millions of times on sovereigns made at the Sydney, Melbourne and Perth branches of The Royal Mint prior to 1931.
How are coins coloured?
Here at The Perth Mint we’ve been colouring coins since the mid-1980s, but how do we do it? Find out here.
Why do coins have serrations (or grooves) around their edges?
To understand why many coins have edge serrations we must go back to a time before coin making-machinery was available.Source: Why do coins have serrations around their edges?
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II – a celebration in coins
We have struck many coins featuring Her Majesty’s coin effigies since 1953, including many millions of pennies, halfpennies, 1 cent and 2 cent coins.