2018 is a big year for anniversaries. This year is 100 years since the first world war ended, the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the European single market, 50 years since the assassinations of JFK and Martin Luther King, and other major historical events. It's also the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which granted UK women over the right to vote.
The Act allowed women over the age of 30 the right to vote, provided they were a householder, married to a householder, occupiers of property with an annual rent of £5, or university graduates. It also granted voting rights to all men over the age of 21. Not exactly equality, but it was a start. To celebrate that historic event, the Royal Mint has done what it does best: announced a new limited edition 50p coin.
The coin was designed by Stephen Taylor, one of the Royal Mint's graphic designers, and features women lining up to vote for the very first time.
— The Royal Mint (@RoyalMintUK) January 1, 2018
Also coming this year are a number of limited edition £2 coins to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (designed byThomas T Docherty), the foundation of the Royal Air Force, and the signing of the armistice that ended the first world war. The latter features words from from Wilfred Owen's poem Strange Meeting, "the truth untold, the pity of war". There's also a £5 coin commemorating the fifth birthday of Prince George, because that's a thing royal institutions have to do I suppose.
The Royal Mint Museum's director Dr Kevin Clancy said:
"Coins released during 2018, portray the centenaries of three key events that shaped the country as we know it today.
The Representation of the People Act 1918 50p remembers the moment women were first given the right to vote, whilst 200 years of Mary Shelley's Dr Frankenstein are marked in a £2 coin.
Two more £2 coins honour moments that will be occupying the thoughts of many this year, the 100th anniversary of the First World War Armistice, and the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Royal Air Force."