To look forward, Britain’s Royal Mint decided to look back.
In commemorating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II’s
accession to the throne, the Royal Mint is issuing £5 coins with a
design paying homage to another historic monarch, Queen Victoria, the
only British monarch to have enjoyed a diamond jubilee, or 60th
anniversary, on the throne.
The designs were unveiled Oct. 11.
Queen Elizabeth II will reach that milestone in June 2012.
Ian Rank-Broadley designed the new £5 coin, basing the obverse on
a sculpture he prepared for the new Supreme Court Building in London
The reverse honors Mary Gillick’s effigy of Queen Elizabeth II that
was used for circulation coins from 1953 through 1967.
The obverse image of Queen Elizabeth II on the Diamond Jubilee
coins shows her wearing the garter robes,which the queen wears when
she attends the “Order of the Garter,” the most senior and the oldest
British order of chivalry, which honors those who have held public
office, contributed to national life or have served the sovereign personally.
Kevin Clancy, director of the Royal Mint Museum, said: “Ian’s new
portraits tell the story of the Queen’s long reign with beauty and
elegance, dignity and character, evoking the spirit of the Queen as
only a truly gifted artist can”.
For the reverse, Rank-Broadley added other elements to a design
inspired by Gillick’s portrait of the young queen wearing a laurel
crown. An olive branch, inspired by an element from the reverse of the
commemorative medal struck for Queen Victoria’s 1897 Diamond Jubilee,
which provided Rank-Broadley inspiration, is incorporated into the
2012 coin’s reverse design.
The 1897 medal “married the Old Head coinage portrait with the
Young Head, used at the start of Victoria’s reign. In the words of one
contemporary journalist, they were ‘flawless’ and ‘beautiful works of
art,’ ” according to the Royal Mint.
A ribbon also is added to the Gillick design. The ribbon appears
below the portrait and gives the date 2012 and reads DIRIGE DEVS
GRESSVS MEOS, which translates to “May God Guide my steps,” which
famously appears on the Proof 1839 Una and the Lion gold £5 pattern
coin (which was the first coin to carry Queen Victoria’s portrait).
Rank-Broadley is perhaps best known as the designer of the current
effigy of Elizabeth II on British coinage (which was introduced for
coinage of the United Kingdom in 1998). The Diamond Jubilee design is
exclusive to the 2012 £5 coin and will not be used for circulating denominations.
The designs were unveiled at 10 a.m. Oct. 11 in London, and notice
was sent immediately via email to those who had signed up at the Royal
Mint’s website to be alerted when the designs were unveiled.
The unveiling kicked off sales of the coin, with a Brilliant
Uncirculated copper-nickel version now available for £12.99 (shipping
and handling are additional).
The BU copper-nickel version, struck from 75 percent copper and 25
percent nickel, weighs 28.276 grams, measures 38.61 millimeters in
diameter and has unlimited mintage.
It is presented in an informative presentation folder recounting
the life and achievements of the queen.
Precious metal versions will become available in January 2012,
according to the Royal Mint’s announcement.
The BU £5 coin is one of six versions to be issued for the Diamond Jubilee.
According to government documents granting approval for the coins,
the Royal Mint will strike copper-nickel, silver, gold-plated silver,
piedfort (double thickness) silver, gold and platinum versions of the
The authorizing document provides some of the coinage
specifications, like size and weight, but does not address mintages.
The .925 fine silver version weighs 28.276 grams. The gold-plated
silver version will also weigh 28.276 grams, but will feature .999
fine gold plating with a standard weight of .10 gram. The document
does not explain the discrepancy between the stated weight of the
coin, said to be the same as the unplated version, and the weight of
the additional gold plating.
The piedfort .925 fine silver coin will weigh 56.552 grams; the
platinum coin will weigh 94.2 grams.
The finenesses of the gold and platinum coins and the weight of
the gold coin were not identified in the document or in a later
statement from the Royal Mint.
An edge inscription, A VOW MADE GOOD, will appear on the silver,
gold and platinum coins, while the copper-nickel and gold-plated
silver coins will have reeding on the edge.
To order the coin, write to the Royal Mint, FREEPOST, NAT23496,
P.O. Box 500, Llantrisant, Pontyclun CF72 8YT, visit the Royal Mint
website at www.royalmint.com,
or telephone the Royal Mint Customer Services Team toll free at
866-519-7298 in the United States or at 866-924-0861 in Canada. ■