Queen Elizabeth II and Royal Mint
- September 09, 2022
Anne JESSOPP, CEO of the Royal Mint, said, “On behalf of the entire team at the Royal Mint, I would like to express our sincere condolences to the Royal Family at this extraordinarily sad time.
Queen Elizabeth II has governed with heart and dedication, and she will be greatly missed by everyone at the Mint and by millions of people around the world.
The Royal Mint worked with Her Majesty throughout her reign, detailing her journey from new Queen to respected head of state through five coin portraits, and ensuring that each new British coin received her personal seal of approval. The remarkable legacy of Britain’s longest serving monarch will endure for many years to come.”
Three questions to Anne JESSOP on the consequences
of this disappearance for the Royal Mint
Are circulating coins bearing the portrait of Her late Majesty still legal tender?
Yes, all UK circulation coins bearing the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II are still legal tender and in circulation. More information will follow.
Have you stopped producing coins bearing the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II?
In respect of this period of mourning, we are continuing to mint coins as usual.
Will the Royal Mint Museum open as usual?
Yes, the “Royal Mint Experience” remains open to visitors. As a sign of respect, a book of condolence will be available for visitors to sign.
The five portraits of Queen Elizabeth II
engraved by the master engravers of the Royal Mint
During the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, circulating coins featured five different portraits of the monarch.
Portrait of Mary Gillick
New coins featuring the first portrait of Her Majesty were issued in 1953. They represented a new beginning after World War II and heralded a new Elizabethan era. The queen was depicted in her youthful and optimistic self. This portrait was used on the coins of the United Kingdom and many other Commonwealth countries (Editor’s note: The Queen was head of state and head of the Commonwealth).
Portrait of Arnold Machin RA
Although the changeover to the decimal system did not take place until 1971, decimal coins entered circulation before that date. The 5p and 10p coins were introduced in 1968 to replace the existing shillings and florins. They were the same size and value as the pre-decimal coins, so they could circulate together until “D-Day” in 1971. This was a useful first step in preparing the public for this change in the UK cash system.
To help the new coins stand out from the old coins, a new portrait of the Queen was commissioned. Designed by Arnold Machin RA, the new portrait shows the Queen wearing a tiara instead of a crown. The tiara had been given to the queen by her grandmother, Queen Mary. Like Mary Gillick before him, Machin avoided using a “cut” portrait – cut through the neck – which had been the norm on coins issued earlier in the century.
Portrait by Raphaël Maklouf
From 1985 to 1997, coins in circulation in the United Kingdom featured a royal portrait by sculptor Raphael Maklouf.
Unlike previous portraits, Maklouf’s version shows the queen wearing a necklace and earrings. Critics accused him of sculpting the queen “flatteringly young,” but Maklouf responded by emphasizing that his intention had been to “create a symbol, royal and ageless.”
If you look closely, you can see the artist’s initials, “RDM,” at the base of the queen’s neck.
There is a long-standing urban myth that the first two-tone £2 coins of 1997 that bear Maklouf’s portrait are rare and valuable. With over 13 million coins minted, it is a myth that the Royal Mint is keen to debunk.
Portrait of Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS
The idea to replace the Maklouf portrait was born during a competition to design the obverse of the 1997 Golden Wedding Medal.
Ian Rank-Broadley’s winning FRBS design, introduced in 1998, provides an interesting contrast to its predecessor, being less idealized and more realistic. Ian Rank-Broadley explained that there was no need to hide the Queen’s maturity. There is no need to flatter her. This is a woman who has reached the age of 70 with equanimity. The portrait is as large as possible within the frame of the coin, as the Royal Mint engraver wanted to maximize its presence on the smaller coins, such as the new 5p, 10p and 50p coins.
Portrait of Jody Clark
The last portrait of the Queen was unveiled in 2015. This is the fourth portrait of The Queen that can still be found in circulation today, as portraits of Arnold Machin, Raphael Maklouf and Ian Rank-Broadley are still in circulation today.
The Royal Mint’s website taken by storm!
All the evening of 09/08/2022, the Royal Mint’s website has been busy. Yesterday was indeed officially launched the last coinage bearing the portrait of Queen Elysabeth, namely coins dedicated to the character of Harry POTTER.
11,214 visitors waiting last night on the Royal Mint website
Sources: Royal Mint and NUMISMAG