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Anniversary of Mary Rose marked with new 2 pound coin

A special £2 coin is being issued to mark the 500th anniversary of the launch of Henry VIII's flagship, the Mary Rose.

The limited edition coin will enter circulation later this year. Special commemorative versions will be struck in gold and silver.

The ship sank while leading an attack on a French invasion fleet in 1545, and was raised from the sea bed in 1982.

A new museum to house the ship will open in Portsmouth in 2012.

The new £2 coin depicts the ship in a design created by the artist John Bergdahl. He said he got the idea during a trip to the current Mary Rose museum: "I was immediately inspired by the only acknowledged painting of this iconic vessel, an image that I used as the basis for my design."

The coin bears the ship's famous name in Tudor script, while the words YOUR NOBLEST SHIPPE 1511 are inscribed around the edge. The words are from a letter written by Sir Edward Howard, Lord Admiral onboard the Mary Rose, to the King in March 1513.

The Mary Rose, a detail from a painting by William Bishop

The Mary Rose was the flagship of the Tudor Navy when it was launched in Portsmouth in 1511. It was one of the first ships to be able to fire a broadside with its guns.

Experts say her rediscovery and raising were seminal events in the history of nautical archaeology.

The new museum is due to open in 2012 at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. It will reunite the ship and 19,000 of its artefacts - including the skeleton of Hatch, the ship's dog.

The chief executive of the Mary Rose Trust, Rear Adm John Lippiett, said "This elegant new coin is a fitting tribute to the world's only surviving Tudor warship."

He urged people to donate £2 each to the fund for the museum. He said without the money "the future of this national icon is not yet secured".

Dr Kevin Clancy, head of historical services at the Royal Mint, said: "We were especially impressed with the way the designer captured the stature and presence of this great Tudor ship on the coin."

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