This year marks Her Majesty’s 95th birthday year. Queen Elizabeth II is Britain’s longest reigning monarch, with an incredible 68 years on the throne.
The first Queen Elizabeth II coins were struck in 1953 and since then five different effigies have adorned our coins.
We asked you to vote for your favourite and portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and the results are in…
1953 – 1967: Mary Gillick
The first coins of Queen Elizabeth’s reign bore Mary Gillick’s portrait of the young Queen, engraved especially for the new coins.
Her uncrowned portrait of the Queen is still used on the Maundy Money distributed each year by Her Majesty.
1968 – 1984: Arnold Machin RA
With the upcoming decimalisation, it was decided to refresh the Queen’s portrait with Arnold Machin’s new sculpture of the Queen. Commissioned in 1964, it first appeared in 1968 on the new 5p and 10p coins. A version of the design with tiara was also introduced on stamps in 1967 and remains to this day.
1985 – 1997: Raphael Maklouf
In creating his new effigy of Her Majesty, Raphael Maklouf aimed “to create a symbol, regal and ageless”.
His “couped” portrait depicts Queen Elizabeth II wearing the royal diadem favoured by her on the way to and from the State Opening of Parliament.
1998 – 2015: Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS
In 1997, a new portrait of Her Majesty was designed 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”.
2015 – Present: Jody Clark
The new “heads” side of the coin was designed by Jody Clark who at 33 was the youngest person to design a monarch’s profile on the currency.
It was the first time her portrait had been modified in 17 years and has remained on our UK coinage ever since.
This was arguably the first UK coin to introduce elements of personality with a hint of a smile. Clark is the first Royal Mint employee in over 100 years to design a UK definitive coin portrait
As Queen Elizabeth II is now one of the top five longest-reigning monarchs in the world, it’s only fitting that five of her portraits appear on our UK coinage.
Your favourite portrait will be revealed next week, so stay tune to find out if your vote won!
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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