By George, mint coins it as sovereigns and crowns sell out

Thousands of commemorative coins struck to celebrate the arrival of Prince George of Cambridge are selling out within days of going on sale.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leave the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in London, with their newborn son.

The Royal Mint produced 10,000 solid silver crown-sized £5 coins and 2,013 22 carat gold sovereigns, both of which feature the royal baby’s namesake St George.

The mint’s website yesterday revealed that more than half the silver coins, which cost £80 each, had sold out and 90 per cent of the sovereign mintage had been snapped up at £800 a coin. The coins went on sale on Monday, the day the royal prince was born.

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Artists at the Royal Mint had created the coins before the baby’s name was revealed on Wednesday, although the name George, with its strong royal connections, had been a bookies’ favourite.

Both coins feature a classic design of St George slaying the dragon, created by artist and engraver Benedetto Pistrucci in 1817.

The design has traditionally been used on gold sovereigns and this marks the first time that it has appeared on a sterling silver UK coin in more than 100 years.

The choice of producing a silver coin was in keeping with the “good luck” tradition of crossing a baby’s palm with silver to wish them future health, wealth and happiness.

The Royal Mint has produced 2,013 silver pennies which it is issuing free of charge to parents whose children were born on the same day as the baby prince.

St George has a distinguished history in UK coinage and made his first appearance on English coins during the reign of King Henry VIII.

The Pistrucci design was adapted by Percy Metcalfe for the George Cross – the highest civilian gallantry award. Designer Boris Anrep also created a mosaic in the Threadneedle Street entrance of the Bank of England which is also based on the design.

Royal Mint director Shane Bissett said: “Even we are surprised by the fact that the Prince of Cambridge’s name was announced just yesterday, and that the artists of the Royal Mint had already created a coin that bears the image of his namesake.

“Our craftsmen chose the Pistrucci design because of its long history and its association with national celebration - and the scenes we have witnessed over the past few days certainly demonstrate that this is a moment that many want to mark with an everlasting heirloom.

“Designers at the Royal Mint will often look to our archive of artworks for inspiration when they are creating new coins and it could not have been more appropriate that they chose a depiction of St George.”