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UK's first dinosaur coin designs revealed

Updated: Dec 30, 2021

Royal Mint have finally revealed the design of the three Dinosaur coins for 2020. We all agree here at British Coin that they look roarsome...sorry.


The first to be released is the Megalosaurus and the coin is expected to be available before the end of February. The Megalosaurus is thought to be one of the first dinosaurs discovered, making this a particularly special first coin to collect. The coin has an image of a Megalosaurus along with an enlarged image of a section of its jaw. At the bottom of the coin is the name Buckland and the year 1824. William Buckland became president of the Geological Society of London in 1824. Here he announced the discovery of fossil bones of a giant reptile which he named Megalosaurus ('great lizard') and wrote the first full account of what would later be called a dinosaur.


The Megalosaurus coin will be followed by the Iguanodon coin which should be available from the middle of March. This coin shows an image of an Iguanodon along with an enlarged image of one of its 'thumbs'. The name Mantell and the year 1825 is on the bottom of the coin. There was a lot of discussion between palaeontologists in regards to some fossils that were discovered, one person saying they were rhinoceros teeth, another said they were a part of a fish. Gideon Mantell proved in 1825 that they were in fact from a dinosaur similar to an Iguana but at least 20 times bigger. He named it, with advice from William Conybeare, Iguanodon.



Sadly, there is then quite a wait for the third coin in this set. The Hylaeosaurus coin isn't due to be released until early May. This coin has an image of a Hylaeosaurus with an enlagrged image of its spines below. At the bottom of the coin is the name Mantell (as is on the Iguanodon coin) and the year 1833. 1833 was the year that Gideon Mantell moved to Brighton but his medical practice suffered. He was almost rendered destitute, but for the town's council who promptly transformed his house into what ended up becoming a popular museum. The museum in Brighton ultimately failed as a result of Mantell's habit of waiving the entrance fee. Financially destitute, Mantell offered to sell the entire collection to the British Museum in 1838 for £5,000, accepting the counter-offer of £4,000.



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