350th Anniversary of Samuel Pepys’ Final Diary Entry

The Royal Mint is celebrating the 350th anniversary of the final entry into one of the world’s most remarkable diaries, authored by Samuel Pepys.

The diary, which Pepys kept from 1660 until 1669, has enriched our understanding of seventeenth century Britain, giving us a first-hand account of historic events such as the Great Fire of London, the Second Dutch War and the Great Plague.

A portrait of Pepys in 1666 by John Hayls.

Originally published in the nineteenth century, the journal entries became hugely popular in Victorian Britain after the third edition’s publication in 1848. Pepys’ detailed and personal journal entries have provided insight and a greater understanding of this turbulent period of British history as well as the effect the events had on British people at the time.

UK / 2 pounds /.9167 yellow and red gold / 15.97 g / 28.4 mm / Design: Gary Breeze / Mintage: 225.

Pepys himself had a connection to The Royal Mint prior to The Royal Mint’s celebration on the new £2 commemorative coin, with his diary revealing that he was a regular visitor to the Tower of London, where The Royal Mint was based at the time. In his diary he recounts a visit in May 1663, detailing how the new coinage of Charles II was produced.

The commemorative £2 coin, designed by sculptor Gary Breeze, highlights Pepys’ extraordinary contribution to historic understanding through the depiction of the final page of his diary, featuring his shorthand entry and quill. The inscription – ‘the good God prepare me’ – comes from Pepys reflecting on his failing eyesight.

UK / 2 pounds /.925 silver / 12 g / 28.4 mm / Design: Gary Breeze / Mintage: 2,500.

Nicola Howell, Director of the Consumer Division at The Royal Mint, commented: “Our latest 2019 commemorative coin is a fantastic celebration of one of Britain’s most important historical figures. Samuel Pepys’ diary had an incredible contribution to our current understanding of the historic events of the seventeenth century, so we’re thrilled to be commemorating 350 years since his final entry.”

The Royal Mint’s 2019 Samuel Pepys commemorative £2 coin is available to purchase online.

More information on Samuel Pepys and the importance of his diaries can be found in this CoinsWeekly article and in the Encyclopedia Britannica.

A lot of his diary entries are available online.