The Royal Mint has released a striking new series of coins for 2016 - including a £2 featuring a skull to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
The dramatic new designs revealed today (Friday) feature a series of three £2s to commemorate the Bard’s plays, and will start appearing in circulation in Spring.
A skull next to a thorny rose represents his tragedies while the history works are shown on a coin with a crown and sword and a jester’s outfit representing the comedy plays.
Another new £2 coin shows flames billowing above the London skyline to mark the 350th Anniversary of The Great Fire of London in 1666.
Coin makers have also created new 50p designs, including two to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter.
One features the author’s silhouette and the other a portrait of her most famous animal character, Peter Rabbit.
The 950th Anniversary of The Battle of Hastings 2016 is also commemorated on a coin of the same value featuring the famous fate of King Harold.
The annual release of new coins also features the last ‘round pound’ before the shape of the brand new 12-sided £1 coin enters circulation in 2017.
Anne Jessopp, director of commemorative coin at The Royal Mint, said: “It is always exciting to see the new years’ designs revealed, commemorating the moments that matter, and revisiting some of the great events and stories from our history.
“The British public should start to see these coins appearing in their change from Spring 2016.
“This year is a special one for The Royal Mint too, with the opening of a Visitor Centre at its South Wales base for the first time in its 1,000 year history.”
All the new coins feature the fifth definitive portrait of The Queen by Royal Mint engraver Jody Clark, first introduced to UK coinage in 2015.
Another new £2 coin for 2016 is entitled The Army UK £2 and has a futuristic design of soldiers marching shoulder to shoulder.
The three Shakespeare coins were designed by renowned sculptor John Bergdahl, and carry an inscription of the playwright’s name around each striking design.
Shakespeare died at the age of 52 on April 23, 1616.