Today at the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Mint unveiled the new definitive portrait of Queen Elizabeth II which will appear on our circulating coinage this year. It is only the fifth portrait to appear on our coins in the Queen’s 62-year reign, and as far as collectors are concerned, events don’t come much bigger than this.
The portrait, showing a side profile of the Queen wearing a crown and drop earrings, was created by designer Jody Clark and is the winning entry of a closed competition launched by the Royal Mint late last year. Aged 33 when his design was selected, he is the youngest of the five designers to have created a portrait for Queen Elizabeth II.
Clark’s new effigy marks a brand new chapter in the history of our circulating coinage, and as any collector will tell you, first issues hold a significance and a lasting degree of collectability for years into the future.
We will see the new coins in our change over the coming weeks and months as they begin filtering through the cash centres and banks to begin with. You can be sure that many of these will be going straight into collections as Change Checkers seek to grab them in their freshly struck condition.
What do you think of the new portrait?
Now you can collect all eight definitive coins featuring the Queen’s new effigy as soon as you spot them in your change.
Click here to order your New Portrait Collecting Pack
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.
Heads or tails? Well, in reality for Change Checkers, the answer is usually tails.
The reverse, or ‘tails’ side of the coin has always been the place to commemorate important anniversaries or make design changes, whilst the Queen retains her same recognisable profile on the obverse – the ‘heads’ side.
Except her profile hasn’t always been the same.
Something which often goes un-noticed on our circulating coinage is the changing face of our Queen over the years. In fact, since decimalisation, three different portraits of Queen Elizabeth II have adorned the coins in our change.
1969-1984: Arnold Machin
With decimalisation approaching, it was decided to refresh the Queen’s portrait with Arnold Machin’s new sculpture of her wearing a tiara. It was commissioned in 1964 and first appeared in 1969 on the new 5p and 10p coins. The portrait may seem very familiar – as it was introduced on stamps in 1967 and remains to this day.
1985 – 1997: Raphael Maklouf
Raphael Maklouf’s effigy replaced Machin’s in 1985 and depicts the Queen wearing the Royal Diadem which she wears to and from the State Opening of Parliament. Some critics accused him of sculpting the Queen as ‘flatteringly young’, but his response was that he aimed to create a symbol “Regal and ageless”.
1998 – Current: Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS
The current Queen’s head on our coinage was designed in 1997 by Ian Rank-Broadley. Created to fill the full circle of the coin, its larger size was a deliberate response to the smaller 5p and 10p coins in circulation. A noticeably more mature portrayal of Her Majesty, Rank-Broadley aimed to show the Queen with “poise and bearing”.
You can now collect all 3 of these portraits for both 1p and 2p denominations in a brand new Change Checker Collector’s Card.
Included with the card is a FREE coin you can’t find in your change – a pre-decimal penny featuring Mary Gillick’s portrayal of an uncrowned young Queen.
Click here to find out more