An entirely new series of four £1 coins – together representing England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales with the focus on the four capital cities – begins in 2010. Struck by the Royal Mint each of the coins will display the Coat of Arms of the four cities but will highlight one in particular. This coin, dated 2010, celebrates Belfast.
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Belfast’s history can be traced back as far as the Bronze Age, with a 5,000-year-old stone circle located nearby. It flourished during the Industrial Revolution, and was first granted city status by Queen Victoria in 1888. The name Belfast derives from the Gaelic ‘Beal Feirste, which loosely translates as ‘mouth of the sandbars’, referring to its position on the old River Farset. It benefited greatly from this location, becoming one of the world’s greatest shipbuilding centres. Today, it is a thriving capital city with a vibrant centre teeming with restaurants, bars and clubs. Its many attractions and places of interest include the Grand Opera House, Belfast Castle, a zoo and the Titanic dock.
The Belfast £1 Coin
Belfast used a coat of arms on its seal as early as 1643, but it was not until 1890 that the arms were granted officially. The shield of the coat of arms provides an appropriate reverse for the new £1 coin representing Northern Ireland in the City Series. Since the city port of Belfast has always been a busy shipbuilding centre, it is not surprising that a sea-going vessel should dominate the shield. The triangular pattern comes from the arms of the Chichester family, while the bell is a simple reference to the city’s name and appeared on tokens issued by Belfast tradesmen in the seventeenth century. The motto of the arms PRO TANTO QUID RETRIBUAMUS can be translated as ‘what shall we give in return for so much’ and provides a pleasing edge inscription for the Belfast £1 coin.
*Please note, the coin has a maximum mintage of 250,000.
The Belfast £1 Coin