Blackpool Tower is set to feature on a new silver £5 coin, an announcement by the Queen has revealed.
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The commemorative cash, which will be released ahead of the iconic structure’s 125th birthday next year, will be part of a series to celebrate British landmarks.
Plans to feature the resort landmark on a coin for the first time were revealed at Buckingham Palace, with more details due to be released by the Royal Mint in the coming weeks.
Kate Shane from Merlin, which runs the Tower, said the honour was ‘befitting to such a magnificent building’ – but it came out of the blue.
She said: “We are surprised but this is absolutely fantastic news.
“Everybody loves Blackpool Tower and it’s an amazing building and a place for people to experience laughter and fun with their family and friends.”
The new coins, which will not go into general circulation but will be available to buy as a memento, are also set to feature Tenby harbour in Pembrokeshire, Brighton Pier, and Southwold beach in Suffolk.
In a proclamation at the palace last Thursday, Her Majesty ordered each one to be made from ‘925 parts per thousand fine silver’.
It will be round and a grained edge, the announcement said.
It will weigh almost 30 grammes, measure just under four centimetres in diameter, and have the inscription ‘ELIZABETH II · G · REG · F · D · 5 POUNDS · 2018’ alongside the Queen’s image on the other side of the coin.
British money usually features the letters D · G · REG · F · D – short for the Latin ‘Dei Gratia Regina Fidei Defensor’, which means ‘By the grace of God, Queen, Defender of the Faith’.
The announcement, signed off with ‘God save the Queen’, said it was ‘desirable to order that there should be ... new coins of the denomination of five pounds in silver to celebrate British landmarks’.
Blackpool coin and bullion dealer Chard said the Tower has never featured on a British coin before – but had been on commemorative medallions.
It said the new coin would have a coloured engraving of the Tower, designed by Royal Mint engravers Glyn Davies and Laura Clancy, who have previously designed coins featuring Giant’s Causeway, the Lake District, the White Cliffs of Dover, Buckingham Palace, and London’s Tower Bridge.
“We may be biased but we think Blackpool should have been featured on all four coins in this year’s series,” a spokesman said.
“The Tower, the Pleasure Beach, the Golden Mile, and the three piers have given millions of holidaymakers a lifetime of memories to remember.”
The company, in Harrowside, South Shore, said shops would be under no obligation to accept the new coin – though it said it should ‘never be taken out of its protective capsule’ anyway.
“The proof finish is achieved using specially polished dies and the surface of the coin is easily damaged,” they said.
“The slightest scratch or knock can affect the value for coin collectors.”
Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “We are delighted that The Blackpool Tower continues to be recognised as a significant British landmark as it is a great source of pride for our residents and community.
“Blackpool Tower is a true British institution and an iconic feature of the town’s famous seafront.
“At 518ft tall it is both a flagship landmark as well as an attraction that offers so much for visitors to enjoy as it did when it was first constructed in 1894.
“Generations of people have fond memories of their time dancing in its world famous ballroom or looking out over the sea from the top of the tower.
“Today, Blackpool is undergoing major investment and the face of the town is being modernised. However, Blackpool Tower will always remain a much-loved place for years to come.”
The Royal Mint declined to comment.
The Queen and Blackpool
The Queen has visited Blackpool on numerous occasions during her reign.
Her first trip to the seaside came in 1955, when she attended the first Royal Variety Performance to be held outside of London.
After visits to Garstang in 1980 and Weeton a decade later, Her Majesty returned to Blackpool with Prince Philip in 1994 to celebrate a festival and help Rossall School marks its 150th anniversary. The pair visited the Grand Theatre and the Tower – for the first time – for the attractions’ 100th birthdays.
The royal couple were welcomed by bright, unbroken sunshine as thousands of people lined the roadsides and craned for views from the top of buildings, to catch a glimpse of their monarch.
Her Majesty was given a guided tour of the Tower, including a trip to the top, unveiled a huge commemorative mirror, and signed the visitors’ book.
The Queen and Prince Philip then met local youngsters at Jungle Jim’s, including six who were awarded for their courage in adversity.