250th Anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns
About the Design
This 2009 commemorative £2 coin marked the 250th anniversary of Burns’ birth in 1759. Its design features handwritten lines from ‘Auld Lang Syne’, one of Robert Burns’ most famous poems. The verse, which is sung at New Year celebrations across the English-speaking world, is written in Burns’ native Scottish dialect. The inscription on the coin reads: ‘We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet for auld lang syne’. Around the edge of the coin are the words SHOULD AULD ACQUAINTANCE BE FORGOT.
This was the first time a design solely based on handwriting had appeared on a British coin – and it was an apt choice, for Burns’story is all about words. He himself said that he learned to write poetry when he fell in love. He continued writing throughout his life, leaving a large body of work behind him. Burns died in 1796 at the age of just 37. Today his work remains much loved, over two and a half centuries after his birth on 25 January 1759, so much so that Scots, at home and abroad, celebrate Burns’ birthday every year. At a Burns Supper admirers of his work toast him with Scottish whisky and serve haggis, reading aloud his ‘Address to a Haggis’.