Stunning in sterling

October 18, 2010, 11:44 PM GMT+0

William Shakespeare, Margaret Thatcher, John Lennon and the Angel of the North may not appear to have much in common at first sight but a survey of over 1,000 of our British panellists, prompted by the news that new coin designs have been commemorated to celebrate the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games, reveals these to be among many people's top designs to feature on British currency.

  • Quite a few respondents wanted to see famous landmarks and areas of Britain featured on our currency: Big Ben and the London Eye were cited frequently. Other choices included the Peak District, old style phone boxes, Blackpool Tower and the Houses of Parliament.
  • Many felt our military deserved to be on our banknotes and coins, with one person maintaining it was necessary ‘so people do not forget what they are doing for our country’.
  • Contributors to arts and music, such as Dame Judi Dench, Mick Jagger and John Lennon were frequently suggested.
  • Several people thought that we needed ‘to publicise and revere our scientists more’ and feature eminent British scientists such as Sir Isaac Newton and and Stephen Hawking
  • Key historical figures such as Admiral Nelson, William Wilberforce, Winston Churchill and William Shakespeare were championed by many to make it onto our mint, while respondents keen to promote women’s rights feel the suffragettes should make an appearance.
  • Some were not so forthcoming; a few people said that they thought the Olympic designs were ‘a waste of money’ while one disgruntled panellist was less than happy about the subject itself, replying ‘anything except this utter waste of time and money that is the Olympic Games’.

Twenty nine new 50 pence piece designs have been revealed to commemorate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Each design features a different sport from the Games, and have been selected from 30,000 entries in a public competition by the Royal Mint. Sports chosen include swimming, boxing and gymnastics. The coins will be coming into circulation throughout 2010 and 2011.