On 9th September 2015, Queen Elizabeth II will officially become Britain’s longest ever reigning monarch as she passes the current record of 23,226 days held by her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria. Over the years, there have been a number of coins to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II and the various milestones she has celebrated on the throne.
But which of these designs is your favourite?
Have your say in our poll at the bottom of the page…
A) 1953 Coronation Crown
The 1953 Coronation Crown was the very first commemorative coin of the Queen’s reign. It features an unorthodox obverse portrait of the Queen riding on horseback and her crowned monogram on either side. The Queen’s name and titles are recited in full, and the edge inscription reads ‘Faith and Truth I will Bear Unto You’ which is taken from the Coronation Oath.
B) 1993 Coronation 40th Anniversary £5
This £5 was issued in 1993 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation. The reverse of the coin features the St Edward’s Crown worn during the ceremony in 1953 at the heart of the design. Circulating the crown are 40 trumpets in recognition of the 40th anniversary year, and the same excerpt taken from the Coronation Oath; Faith and Truth I Will Bear Unto You.
C) 2003 Coronation 50th Anniversary £5
The £5 coin issued in 2003 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the coronation is one of the most unconventional designs ever issued. The central motif on the reverse of the coin was designed by Tom Phillips and reads “God Save the Queen”. His choice of contemporary style lettering is unusual for a UK coin, and covers the entire reverse – making it instantly recognisable.
D) 2013 Coronation 60th Anniversary £5
The most recent Queen Elizabeth II commemorative £5 coin was issued in 2013 to mark the Coronation Diamond Jubilee. The reverse design by Emma Noble is a simple one, with the Imperial State Crown worn by Her Majesty after the coronation ceremony featuring prominently in superb detail. It is accompanied by the words “To Reign and Serve; A Vow Made Good”.
Jody Clark recently added his name to an illustrious list in the history books by becoming only the fifth person to create an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II for British circulating coins. Each artist has given their own portrayal of the Queen which offers us a numismatic timeline showing her changing profile over the years.
But which of the five is your favourite? Place your vote below.
1. Mary Gillick (1953 – 1970)
The very first coins of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign bore Mary Gillick’s portrait of a youthful looking Queen, which she engraved especially for the new coins. Her uncrowned portrait is still used on Maundy Money distributed each year by Her Majesty.
2. Arnold Machin RA (1968 – 1984)
With decimalisation approaching, the Queen’s portrait was refreshed with Arnold Machin’s new sculpture. Commissioned in 1964, it first appeared in 1968 on the new 5p and 10p coins. A version of the design with a tiara was introduced on stamps in 1967 and remains to this day.
3. Raphael Maklouf (1985 – 1997)
With his portrayal of Her Majesty, Raphael Maklouf aimed to “create a symbol, regal and ageless”. Unlike the others, his original formal portrait depicting Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Royal Diadem was ‘couped’ (cut off above the shoulders) to become the third official effigy.
4. Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS (1998 – 2015)
The next portrait was created to fill the full circle of the coin in a deliberate response to the new smaller 5p and 10p coins in circulation. The designer, Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS, aimed to show the Queen with “poise and bearing” with his noticeably more mature portrayal.
5. Jody Clark (2015 – )
The latest portrait by Jody Clark was unveiled on 2nd March 2015 during a ceremony at the National Portrait Gallery. His elegant depiction of Queen Elizabeth II was selected by the Royal Mint Advisory Committee – and he is the first Royal Mint engraver for over 100 years to be commissioned for a royal coinage portrait.
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2015 is set to be something of a momentous year for coin collectors, with five significant anniversaries to be commemorated next year. They are:
£2 – The 800th Anniversary of theMagna Carta
2015 marks 800 years since the signing of the Magna Carta – an agreement which forced King John to abide by the ancient laws and customs by which England had previously been governed. Literally translated as “Great Charter” it laid the foundations for modern democracy and the rights of English citizens. In fact, it is still cited in many legal cases to this day.
Perhaps surprisingly, this will be the very first time that the Battle of Britain is commemorated on a United Kingdom coin. In the summer of 1940, Nazi Germany was quickly advancing through Europe, but their failure to gain air superiority over the RAF in Britain was ultimately one of the turning points of the war.
The second design in the series of First World War £2 coins pays tribute to the role of the Royal Navy. At the time, it was by far the most powerful navy in the world and was a major asset to Britain in defending coastal waters against the Germans.
Also making its debut on United Kingdom coinage for 2015 is the Battle of Waterloo. Fought by the Duke of Wellington and his allied armies against Napoleon Bonaparte of France in 1815, it was a defining moment in European history – ending 20 years of conflict in the continent.
There are few Britons more worthy of commemoration than the wartime Prime Minister himself, Sir Winston Churchill. Following his death in 1965 he became the first person outside of the Royal family to be commemorated on a coin, and now, fifty years on, he is being honoured again on a new £5 coin.
Next year the Queen is due to become the longest reigning monarch in British history, and there will soon be a new portrait on our coins to honour her. With the final appearance of the long-standing effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS and five very noteworthy anniversaries, it already looks like 2015 will be a truly landmark year for coin collectors.