Samuel Pepys’ 17th century diary celebrated with new £2 Royal Mint coin

Samuel Pepys, whose diary entries enriched our understanding of turbulent 17th century Britain, is being celebrated with a new £2 coin from the Royal Mint.

A diary kept by Pepys from 1660 until 1669 gives a first-hand account of historic events such as the Great Fire of London, the Second Dutch War and the Great Plague.

The coin, which is available to buy on the Royal Mint’s website, commemorates the 350th anniversary of Pepys’ final diary entry.

Royal Mint
The Royal Mint is celebrating the 17th century diary of Samuel Pepys (Royal Mint/PA)

Prices range from £10 for a brilliant uncirculated version of the coin, to £845 for a gold proof coin.

The Royal Mint said the “low mintage” commemorative coin will not be entering general circulation.

Pepys had a connection to the Royal Mint – with his diary revealing that he was a regular visitor to the Tower of London, where the Mint was based at the time. His diary recalls a visit in May 1663, detailing how the new coinage of Charles II was produced.

The journal entries became hugely popular in Victorian Britain after the third edition’s publication in 1848.

The commemorative £2 coin, designed by sculptor Gary Breeze, highlights Pepys’ contribution to historic understanding and features a quill.

The coin’s inscription: “The good God prepare me,” comes from Pepys reflecting on his failing eyesight.

Nicola Howell, director of the consumer division at the Royal Mint, said: “Our latest 2019 commemorative coin is a fantastic celebration of one of Britain’s most important historical figures.

“Samuel Pepys’ diary had an incredible contribution to our current understanding of the historic events of the 17th century, so we’re thrilled to be commemorating 350 years since his final entry.”

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