Sussex

New 50p coin struck for Battle of Hastings anniversary

Battle of Hastings 50p
Image caption The 1066 Battle of Hastings 50p piece depicts King Harold with an arrow through his eye

The first of five million 50p coins to commemorate the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings in 1066 have been struck at the Royal Mint.

The coin, which shows King Harold with an arrow through his eye, marks one of the most well-known events in British history.

Mayor of Hastings Judy Rogers and Mayor of Battle David Furness were at the Royal Mint to see the first coins.

"It's just fascinating seeing how our coins are made," said Ms Rogers.

The image of King Harold, defeated at the Battle of Hastings by William the Conqueror, is taken from the Bayeux Tapestry, which depicts the Norman invasion of Britain.

Royal Mint historian Chris Barker said soldiers at the time would have used coins struck at the Mint, which has been in existence some 1,100 years.

It began moving from London to its present home in Llantrisant in South Wales in the 1960s.

"The soldiers would have had coins struck by the Royal Mint in their purses as they were going to fight," said Mr Barker.

"It's quite fitting that we are making something today to commemorate the battle."

Image caption Mayor of Hastings Judy Rogers and Mayor of Battle David Furness saw the first coins struck

The new 50p coin will be in circulation within weeks.

"The Mint marks about half-a-dozen or so significant anniversaries every year," said director of the Royal Mint Museum Kevin Clancy.

"Sometimes they are historical, sometimes they are about Royal events and sometimes they are sporting events like the Olympics.

"We couldn't pass up 1066."

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