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The Royal Mint’s 2020 Lunar Year of the Rat commemorative coin launched

Catriona Lee, aged 9, presents The Royal Mint’s latest Chinese zodiac coin from the Shēngxiào Collection, depicting the Lunar Year of the Rat to celebrate Chinese New Year on Saturday. © The Royal Mint

The Royal Mint marks the start of a new Lunar cycle in 2020 with the first sign of the calendar – the Rat. Since 2014, The Royal Mint have celebrated this ancient Chinese custom by marking each Zodiac symbol on a coin as part of The Shēngxiào Collection. The Shēngxiào Collection has grown to become an eagerly anticipated annual event amongst coin collectors across the globe.

The series is a celebration of the UK’s diverse multi-cultural society, lending a unique British angle to this ancient custom. During Chinese New Year it is common to exchange tokens and gifts of money in red envelopes symbolising good wishes for the recipient’s health, wealth and prosperity.

If you were born in the Year of the Rat, you are in good company. William Shakespeare, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, Gwyneth Paltrow and Bono all share this sign, which is associated with intelligence and optimism.

The rat is thought of as a godly creature in Chinese culture, and people born in the Year of the Rat are considered to be optimistic and great at building relationships. Known to be generous and resourceful, the curiosity and intelligence of people born in the Year of the Rat leads them to seek out knowledge.

Clare Maclennan, Divisional Director of Commemorative Coin at The Royal Mint, said: “The Shēngxiào Collection combines centuries of The Royal Mint’s craftsmanship and artistic skills with a centuries-old Chinese tradition. We have been marking each Chinese zodiac symbol since 2014 and are thrilled to celebrate the start of a new Lunar cycle with the Lunar Year of the Rat commemorative coin – a beautiful fusion of British and Chinese tradition.”

The Lunar Year of the Rat commemorative coins are available in a range of precious metal and for the first time in a Brilliant Uncirculated finish to purchase from