University reproduces historic American coin for US President


Birmingham City University has reproduced a 227-year-old coin that will be presented to US President Donald Trump to commemorate Birmingham hosting the annual British-American Business Council (BABC) transatlantic conference this week.

The event at the University’s Royal Birmingham Conservatoire on 7 June will welcome delegates from all over Britain and North America as businesses in the West Midlands, led by Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) and supported by Birmingham City University, seek new markets in the post-Brexit era.

School of Jewellery

Birmingham City University

With 3D computer-aided-design (CAD) imaging, the University’s School of Jewellery helped to reproduce the Large Eagle Washington Cent coin to hand out to event attendees, exemplifying how Birmingham is often referred to as ‘the workshop of the world’ with a long history of leading trade and market innovation.

400 editions of the coin have been produced and the very first specimen is set to be delivered to US President Donald Trump. The second edition will be presented to US Ambassador to the UK, Woody Johnson, who will be in attendance at the conference.

Following CAD imaging of the original coin and importing images into ArtCam software to enhance shapes, a master pattern was created and used to create a mould using high temperature rubber. The coins were then cast in pewter by the A.E. Williams family, who are based in Digbeth and have been making the alloy since 1779.

Historically, A.E. Williams has produced traditional domestic pewter ware, but more recently has also produced pieces for palaces and stately homes, as well as for television productions including BBC’s Poldark and HBO’s Game of Thrones.

The original Large Eagle Washington Cent was one of two coins commissioned in 1791 by Birmingham firm W. and Alexander Walker. Designed by one of the world’s finest engravers at the time, John Gregory Hancock, the federal coins – with the bust of President George Washington on the obverse and an American eagle on the reverse – were produced at Obadiah Westwood’s mint in the city.

Although both the Small and Large Eagle Washington Cent coins were well made, they never became a circulated currency after Washington favoured a national mint to control coin production.

The BABC conference follows the success of Birmingham’s high-profile presence at last year’s event in Chicago when the Midlands Chapter of the BABC received wide praise for sending the biggest delegation from a single city, as well as demonstrating the significant level of interest in transatlantic trade that exists in the Midlands.

The event will feature speakers from politics, business, economics and other sectors including Chief Economist for financial services firm RSM, Joseph Brusuelas.

“The conference was a huge success five years ago when it was last held in Birmingham and we’re delighted that the spotlight will again fall on the city”, said Professor Julian Beer, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Birmingham City University and President of the BABC Midlands Chapter.

The BABC Midlands chapter, a section GBCC, is part of the largest transatlantic business network, with 22 chapters and 2,000 member companies, including many of the world’s largest multinationals, based in major business centres throughout North America and the UK.

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