Royal Maundy is the tradition of the British Monarch ceremonially distributing small silver coins, known as “Maundy Money”, to elderly recipients. It dates back as far 600 AD and its origins lie in the story of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples after the Last Supper. The word “Maundy” comes from the Latin word “mandatum”, meaning the command that Jesus gave to his disciples to “love one another”.
Why is it important?
There are many duties that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II carries out as part of her daily devotional life. One of the more important for her is the Royal Maundy service that takes place on Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday in the Christian calendar.
The reason that it is so important to her is that, interestingly, it is the only occasion that the Queen visits others to make awards, with recipients usually coming to see her. So that the Queen can visit as many cathedrals or abbeys in different parts of the country as possible, she herself has directed that the service should not be held in London more than once every ten years.
The money is struck in denominations of one penny, two pence, three pence and four pence. The obverse design of the coin is the reigning monarch with the reverse showing a crowned numeral enclosed by a wreath.
They are presented in two leather purses; a white purse containing coins to the value of the same number of pence as the current sovereigns age, and a red purse containing a £5 and a 50p coin. A small amount of ordinary coinage is also given symbolizing food and clothing that used to be given as gifts. It is said that the Queen has sometimes received gifts in return, one recipient reportedly handing her a jar of marmalade!
Sadly, due to the current global pandemic, Royal Maundy money this year will be posted to recipients but they will all have the wonderful opportunity of sending a message to Her Majesty directly to tell her about themselves.
Why is it important to you?
We always look to advise our clients to buy collections of coins to put themselves in the strongest possible position for the future and from a numismatic perspective, low mintage is key and “Maundy Money” is highly sought after with less than 2000 sets produced most years.
We currently have a two coin sovereign set celebrating the life of Queen Elizabeth II. You can view it HERE