Today is Prince Philip’s 98th birthday, an extraordinary milestone by all accounts, and so we’ve taken a look back at some of the coins issued to commemorate key moments throughout his life.
Born in Corfu in 1921, he is actually the oldest living great-grandchild of Queen Victoria. Prince Philip was born into the Greek royal family but his family was exiled from Greece when he was a child.
In 1939 he began corresponding with Princess Elizabeth, and after World War II he was granted permission by the King to marry her.
Prince Philip’s life of royal service began at the Queen’s accession in 1952 and he has since become the longest-serving consort in British history and the oldest-ever male member of the British Royal family.
2007 Diamond Jubilee £5
In 2007, Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary, a remarkable 60 years of marriage.
Due to this massive milestone and a truly proud moment for them both, the Royal Mint issued a new £5 coin.
Designed by Emma Noble, the reverse beautifully depicts the Rose Window at Westminster Abbey. This highly sought after coin is the only UK coin to feature the conjoined portrait of the Queen and Prince Philip.
2011 90th Birthday of Prince Philip £50
In 2011 a UK £5 coin was issued by The Royal Mint in celebration of the 90th birthday of Prince Philip.
The coin’s design features a specially commissioned portrait of Philip by Mark Richards FRBS.
Excitingly, just 18,730 of these coins were struck in Brilliant Uncirculated presentation packs making it one of the rarest £5 coins ever. And because of this, the coin is extremely sought after by collectors and is virtually impossible to get hold of on the secondary market.
2017 Prince Philip 70 Years of Service £5
In 2017, The Royal Mint released a brand new UK coin paying tribute to Prince Philip and his 70 years of service.
On 4th May 2017, Buckingham Palace announced that Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh would be retiring from public duty. This marked an incredible 70 years of service to the Queen, the United Kingdom, British Isles and the Commonwealth.
As well as a Base Metal coin, a very limited number of Silver Proof coins were made available, with just 3,000 coins being struck. Unsurprisingly, this coin was quick to sell out at The Royal Mint and with their distributors.
Did you know he worked with the Royal Mint?
In 1952, The Duke of Edinburgh was appointed President of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee. His role included selecting the design of coins, medals and seals for the new reign of Her Majesty the Queen.
He worked with the Royal Mint right up to his retirement in 1999 so it’s fair to say that the coins we know and love from years gone by, were specially selected by Prince Philip.
Secure the 2017 Prince Philip 70 Years of Service £5 coin
Whilst the Silver Proof version of this coin was quick to sell out, you still have the opportunity to get your hands on the Base Metal £5 coin in CERTIFIED BU quality.
Alexandrina Victoria was born on 24th May 1819. At just 18 years old she acceded to the throne and ruled Britain for 63 years, making her Britain’s longest reigning monarch at the time of her death in 1901.
Victoria oversaw the extensive growth and expansion of the British Empire under her rule, with dramatic changes in British culture, industry, and technology. These changes had a significant influence on the development and spread of British coinage.
Victorian currency was minted throughout the world in countries such as India and Australia, as well as Britain. Every coin and portrait tells a unique story – from the ‘Young Head’ which depicted a promising Queen, right through to the ‘Old Head’ which represented an ageing but graceful monarch.
In this blog, we’ll explore the defining coins of Queen Victoria’s reign, as well as taking a look at the modern commemorative coins we see today, issued to celebrate one of Britain’s most influential monarchs.
The defining coins of Queen Victoria’s Reign
The first Sovereign of Queen Victoria’s rule was issued in 1838 with the popular Young Head portrait by William Wyon. The portrait had a particularly youthful look, one that was favoured by Victoria and contributed to the coin’s popularity throughout her reign. To this day, it is the longest a portrait has featured on our circulating coinage, having been issued on bronze coins up until 1895. The Young Head effigy is considered the most favoured portrait of Victoria’s coinage, undergoing only minor changes throughout its lifespan.
As part of the move towards decimalisation, a coin valued at 1/10th of a pound, the Florin, was introduced in 1849. It featured the Gothic Head portrait by William Wyon which would actually go on to be regarded as one of the most beautiful representations of the Victorian age. However, this coin failed to include the term ‘Dei Gratia’, which earned it the nickname of the Godless Florin. It was swiftly withdrawn from circulation after three years.
The Gothic Florin was introduced as a replacement to the Godless Florin and contained a very similar design, but this coin included the term ‘Dei Gratia’. This particular portrait represents the revival of Gothic culture across Victorian life and draws its name from the distinct gothic font used for the inscription around the edge, and the intricate detail on the crown that Victoria wears, which is considered a numismatic masterpiece. As the second Florin to promote decimalisation, the Gothic Florin again failed to gain popularity but was minted for longer than its predecessor.
1855 Sydney Sovereign
As part of British imperial expansion, the Royal Mint opened a branch in Sydney and the first Sovereign was minted there in 1855. It had the word ‘Australia’ printed on the reverse and bore a small ‘S’ mintmark to distinguish it as having been minted in Australia. This portrait was only ever seen on Australian coins, produced exclusively at the Sydney Mint for just 14 years. It depicted a younger queen with a sprig of banksia (an Australia plant) weaved into her hair, which gave it a distinct Australian feel.
The Double Florin, in another move towards decimalisation, was valued at 1/5th of a pound and pictured the Jubilee Head. The coin was only 2mm smaller than the Crown but valued at a Shilling less, making it difficult to distinguish between the two. Issued between 1887 and 1890, it is one of the shortest circulating coins in British history. The coin was famously nicknamed the ‘Barmaid’s Ruin’, as tavern maids mistook the coin for a Crown, causing the tavern to lose money and the maid to lose their job!
The final Sovereign of Queen Victoria’s rule depicted the Old Head portrait by Thomas Brock, showing an elegant Queen in her mourning attire. Victoria’s veil had become integral to her image since the death of her husband in 1861, right up until her final years. This is one of the most famous images of Victoria and features on the final sovereign of her reign, issued in 1901 at the end of the Victorian era and the start of a new century.
Modern commemorative coins
Almost 150 years after the birth of Queen Victoria and 120 years after the initial move towards decimalisation, the first decimal coins entered circulation in Britain. The 5p and 10p coins were released in 1968, followed by the 50p coin in 1969.
From the modern coinage we see today, two commemorative £5 coins have been issued in Queen Victoria’s honour.
Death of Queen Victoria 100th anniversary
The death of Queen Victoria in January 1901 marked the end of an era which has left its mark on the modern world. Her reign was remarkable for the extraordinary progress in industry, technology, arts and sciences and the expansion of the British Empire. This coin was issued to mark 100 years since her death and the end of the Victorian era. The reverse by Mary Milner-Dickens reproduces the profile of Victoria by William Wyon against the background of the Crystal Palace exhibition of 1851.
Birth of Queen Victoria 200th anniversary
Under Queen Victoria’s reign, The British Empire became a superpower during an era of peace and prosperity. Designed by John Bergdahl, the reverse of this coin, issued to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria, features a portrait of Queen Victoria with the dates 1819 – 2019 alongside a steam train, large sailing ship, telephone, and penny farthing. Each element appears in a mechanical circle to represent the incredible inventions of the Victorian period.
Of all the monarchs, Victoria’s reign seems to have captured the imagination of the public more than any other. The coins issued throughout her reign and into the modern age reflect her extraordinary life and rule.
Celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria
This brand new UK £5 coin has been struck to a superior Brilliant Uncirculated quality and is protectively encapsulated in official Change Checker packaging to ensure that it is preserved for generations.
The Prince of Wales is the world’s longest serving heir apparent, supporting Her Majesty the Queen as her representative while also playing an important role in founding and supporting numerous charitable causes. And on the 14th November this year, HRH The Prince of Wales will celebrate a landmark birthday.
To celebrate the 70th birthday of our future King, The Royal Mint has just announced the release of a brand new UK coin.The release of this coin is sure to be exciting for Change Checkers in the knowledge that the last UK £5 coin that featured Prince Charles turned out to be extremely rare.
The Prince of Wales has had numerous commemorative coins minted to mark special occasions throughout his lifetime, and to celebrate his 70th birthday we’ve taken a look back at the history of Prince Charles in coins. From his first marriage to Princess Diana, to landmark birthday celebrations and now in 2018 as heir apparent to the throne, he will celebrate his 70th birthday…
Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer 25 pence – 1981
The first ever UK coin issued in the Prince of Wales’ honour, was for his wedding to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. The coin was struck by The Royal Mint and was a crown tariffed at 25 pence (although no denomination was actually inscribed on the coin).
It was the first time that three people were portrayed on a British coin simultaneously, with the reverse featuring the conjoined profiles of the bridal couple and the effigy of Her Majesty the Queen by Arnold Machin RA.
Prince Charles’ 50th birthday – 1998
To mark his 50th birthday, The Royal Mint struck a £5 coin issued in five metal versions, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Prince of Wales’ Trust.
This charitable organisation was established to further the interests of young people and also provides the theme for the reverse, which portrays the Prince alongside a 33 word inscription setting out the aims and ideals of the Trust. This inscription is so long that it actually takes the title as the longest inscription on any British coin!
The Wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles – 2005
This 1 Dollar coin from the Cook Islands was issued to celebrate the wedding of Charles and Camilla, however it actually features the wrong date following a last minute delay to the wedding of 24 hours, so that HRH Prince Charles could attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II as the representative of the Queen. The date was unable to be changed as the coins had already been struck!
The design features a portrait of the couple and the incorrect date ‘08.04.2005’ and has a very low mintage of just 5,000, making it a significantly scarce and collectible coin.
Prince Charles and Prince Charles’ 60th birthday – 2008
This £5 coin was released for Prince Charles’ 60th birthday and in fact has the lowest mintage figure in the history of UK ‘circulated’ £5 coins. Just 14,088 of these coins were struck by The Royal Mint in 2008 and was one of the last £5 coins to be issued at face value.
This coin features the portrait of Charles by Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS, whose effigy of the Queen has been used on British coins since 1998. The inscription ICH DIEN means ‘I serve’ and is taken from the Badge of the Prince of Wales.
This coin is extremely sought after by collectors but unfortunately we do not have any stock currently available. Are you lucky enough to have this coin in your collection?
Four Generations of Royalty
At the start of this year, The Royal Mint released this £5 coin which was highly anticipated from the moment HRH Prince George of Cambridge was born on 22nd July 2013 – The Four Generations of Royalty £5 coin.
This is the first time ever that The Royal Mint has issued a coin that celebrates all four generations in line to the throne on a single coin.
The reverse features an original design by much-loved calligrapher Timothy Noad, and ornately shows the initials of the current four generations, E, C, W, G, and represents the heritage of the House of Windsor.
Prince Charles’ 70th birthday – 2018
2018 has been a truly unforgettable year for the Royals, celebrating the Queen’s 65th Jubilee, the birth of Prince Louis, the marriage of Harry and Meghan and on the 14th of November, the 70th birthday of HRH The Prince of Wales.
This brand new £5 coin celebrates Prince Charles’ 70th birthday this year, featuring a brand new portrait of the Prince, created by widely respected designer, Robert Elderston who was once an apprentice engraver at The Royal Mint at its previous home in Tower hill more than 50 years ago.
What makes this coin particularly interesting is that it could be very similar to the portrait of Prince Charles that will feature on all United Kingdom coinage once he becomes King.
The 2018 Prince Charles £5 has now been officially released and is available to order here >>
It’s clear that each coin commemorating a momentus period of Prince Charles’ life has proven to be a rarity in some way, whether it be due to having such a low mintage figure, an unusual design or fascinating story.
As we know, £5 coins are reserved for the most important Royal and Historical anniversaries, and this £5 is the perfect way to celebrate the birthday of our future King.