Page last updated at 13:42 GMT, Monday, 8 June 2009 14:42 UK

Coin marks Henry VIII anniversary

Henry VIII memorial coin
The coin has been made in platinum, gold, silver and cupro-nickel

The Royal Mint is issuing a limited edition £5 coin to mark 500 years since Henry VIII ascended to the throne.

A few of the "coins fit for a king" are cast in platinum, with a hefty price tag of £4,400. For ordinary subjects, there are cupro-nickel ones for £9.99.

Featuring the robust figure of Henry himself, they carry the words Rosa Sine Spina, meaning "rose without a thorn", which featured on coins in 1509.

The Royal Mint said it hoped to honour the "love him or hate him" monarch.

Henry VIII came to the English throne in 1509 aged just 17, following the death of his father, Henry VII.

He famously had six wives and a very large appetite.

Royal Navy

The Royal Mint has produced 1,509 gold commemorative coins, which will go on sale for £1,195 each.

Those wanting something even more exclusive can pick up one of the 100 platinum versions.

In addition, there are also 10,000 silver coins, priced at £44.95, and 100,000 cupro-nickel coins for £9.99.

King Henry VIII
Henry made it his mission to build up the English navy

All of the coins show the controversial king standing in front of a frieze of roses, which echoes the antique style of design much favoured in the carvings and tapestries of the period.

They also carry the initials HR - Henricus Rex - which represents the king's personal monogram, and a rope border around the edge, symbolising the Royal Navy.

Henry VIII made it his mission while on the throne to build up the English navy to rival that of King James IV of Scotland.

By the time of his death in 1547, England had 58 vessels, partly funded with loot from his dissolution of the monasteries.

Dave Knight, director of commemorative coins at the Royal Mint, said: "Love him or hate him, Henry VIII is undoubtedly one of history's most influential monarchs.

"His reign changed the face of England for ever and we felt it was essential that this remarkable period of history was commemorated with a lasting and treasured memento."

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