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The Tower Of London and Sherlock Holmes

The Tower Of London and Sherlock Holmes

Tower of London Medal
Warders of the Tower of London Medal, designed by Christopher Ironside

The Tower of London is never mentioned in the original 60 stories of Sherlock Holmes. However, the Tower would play a key role in two subsequent adaptations of the Holmes stories.

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Most recently, in The Reichenbach Fall episode of BBC’s Sherlock, the character of Jim Moriarty breaks into the case holding the crown jewels at the Tower of London.

Adventures of SH Title Shot

Tower of London Title

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1939, in Basil Rathbone’s first film role as Holmes, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Moriarty attempts to steal the crown jewels from the Tower. Interestingly, Rathbone would play the role of Richard III that same year in The Tower of London.

Coin collectors are familiar with the Tower of London as the location of the Royal Mint from approximately 1279 until 1809. During this time, Isaac Newton would serve as Master of the Royal Mint. Thousands of coins were struck for British monarchs.  A few samples of those coins are shown below.

Richard III Groat
Richard III Groat
Henry VIII Shilling
Henry VIII Shilling
Elizabeth I Half Pound
Elizabeth I Half Pound
Charles I Shilling
Charles I Shilling
1786 George III Guinea
1786 George III Guinea

Christopher IronsideThe Warders of the Tower of London medal, pictured at the top of this post, was designed by Christopher Ironside.

Ironside is also noted for designing the six new reverse designs for British coinage when they switched over to a decimalized coinage in 1971. His first designs were the  and 10 pence coins that started circulating in 1968.

1971 British Decimal coinage
1971 British Decimal coinage

Lastly, below we have the 1939 film that launched Basil Rathbone in his most famous role – The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.