A History of Queen Elizabeth II on Coins

From the post boxes on the street to the change in our pockets, each day we are reminded of our late monarch – Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (1926 – 2022).

And, with 29 billion individual coins in circulation in the UK – the majority of which carry an image of Her Majesty – her likeness will forever be etched in our memories and passed down for generations on our coinage.

These very coins offer a window into the past and retell the history of Her Majesty’s 70 year reign through the changing portraits seen on our coinage.

Portraits of the Queen

The Young Queen | 1953 – 67: Mary Gillick

The first coins of Queen Elizabeth’s reign featured Mary Gillick’s portrait of the young Queen, created especially for the new coins in 1953.

The “Decimal Queen” | 1968 – 84: Arnold Machin RA

With the decimalisation of the UK’s coinage on the horizon, it was decided to refresh the Queen’s portrait with Arnold Machin’s new effigy of the Queen. Commissioned in 1964, it first appeared in 1968 on the new 5p and 10p coins.

The Grandmother | 1985 – 97: Raphael Maklouf

Raphael Maklouf aimed “to create a symbol, regal and ageless” when he created the new effigy of Her Majesty. This coincided with the Queen’s early years as a grandmother and depicts Queen Elizabeth II wearing the royal diadem worn on the way to and from the State Opening of Parliament.

Millennium Queen | 1998 – 2014: Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS

As the Millennium approached, a fourth effigy was released onto our coinage, designed by Ian Rank-Broadley. Its larger size filled the full circle of the coin and was a deliberate response to the smaller 5p and 10p coins in circulation. This more mature portrayal of Her Majesty aimed to show the Queen with “poise and bearing”.

The Longest Reigning Monarch | 2015 – 2022: Jody Clark

The final portrait of Her Majesty was introduced in 2015 – the year that the Queen passed Victoria as our longest reigning monarch. It is, of course, that design that will continue to remind us of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for years to come, as her old currency continues to circulate long after her death.

Special Obverse Designs

Not only will the Queen be remembered for her portraits on coins, but for two very special obverse designs.

The first dates back to the very first coin released for Queen Elizabeth II – her Coronation Crown in 1953. The second was from the 2022 Platinum Jubilee coins.

QEII on horseback obverse coin designs

Both picture the Queen on horseback, celebrating Her Majesty with her greatest love – horses. Surely there can be no better way to remember Her Majesty than through these two great designs. If you’re lucky enough to have either in your collection, let us know in the comments below!

Do you have a favourite coin portrait or obverse design on Her Majesty? Leave a comment to share yours.

Commemorate Her Majesty on Coins

As you can imagine, demand for QE II coinage is at an all-time high.

Don’t miss the chance to fill the gaps in your royalty coin collection here >>


  1. Colin on April 30, 2024 at 12:21 am

    Despite being born in the ’80s I think I have a few examples of all five portraits in my collection. The first portrait (1952-1967) being on a coin that – Amazingly – Remains legal tender to this very day, albeit for just 25p…And we all know 25p holds a lot less buying power today than the five shillings it was originally minted for back in 1953! 😀

    Thanks to the pandemic all but eliminating my use of fiat I’ve yet to see a single C-III-R coin cross my palm yet, but looking at the ChangeChecker images of the (Extremely nice looking) new UK coins for 2024 I’m hoping to start seeing a few in my change soon! Did anybody else spot the Royal Mints cunning „Umleitung“ in that putting the Oak leaf design on a ~Nickel~ coin will avoid any confusion with German-minted €0,01-€0,05 coins? 🙂

    Personally, I’m looking forward to receiving my first C-III-R Pound coin, and I will be paying very close attention to its weight. I’ve long been complaining about the Royal Mints short-changing of its users by giving us Pounds which weigh nowhere near the 454g they ought to, and I’m hoping the Charles mintage will finally correct this oversight. (-:

    Finally; I also want to add that all the „Рemembeр Рemembeр the Fifth of Novembeр“ « errors » on the 2015 „Gt. Fire of London“ £2,- coin become altogether easier to miss if your secondary character set is Cyrillic, where phonetic Romeo appears – Coincidentally – As the letter Р. 😀

  2. Toby. Smith on April 20, 2024 at 9:51 pm





  3. Raymond Balding on April 19, 2024 at 12:21 pm

    I have a few coronation crowns and at least one jubilee coin.As I was born 3 weeks before the princess became a queen they are precious memories.

  4. Adrian Charlton on April 19, 2024 at 11:09 am

    She was a wonderful lady and monarch, as you say her legacy will live on through her coins. I have an example of each in my collection, both fractional and decimal. The final picture of the 2 crowns however, goes to illustrate the massive changes over her lifetime. in 1953 a crown was worth 5 shillings, 25p today. By 2022 it had been redenominated to £5.