World Coins

New portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on track for 2015 release

The Royal Mint has announced that the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy, seen here on a 1998 gold sovereign coin, will be replaced, beginning with the 2015 gold sovereigns.

Images courtesy of the Royal Mint.

Coins of the United Kingdom will soon carry a new view of the queen.

The Royal Mint announced Nov. 5 that beginning in 2015, the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Queen Elizabeth II would be replaced. The new design will be only the fifth definitive portrait of the queen during her 62-year reign, and the first change since Rank-Broadley’s design debuted in 1998.

The new portrait will be chosen through a closed competition commissioned by the Royal Mint Advisory Committee where a number of specialist designers are invited to submit designs under anonymous cover, before a winner is selected by the committee. The winning design has likely been chosen already, because of the lead time required for preparation of dies and tooling, but has not yet been announced.

The Royal Mint is using the 2015 gold sovereign coins to transition from the Rank-Broadley effigy to the new, as-yet-to-be-announced design. Those struck in 2015 will be “amongst the very first to feature the new effigy,” according to the announcement, after which time the new design will be instituted on all circulating and collector coins.

The Mary Gillick effigy was introduced in 1953 for the queen’s coronation, and the Arnold Machin effigy followed in 1968. Raphael Maklouf's effigy was instituted in 1985 and the current portrait debuted in 1998.

At this time, the new portrait only affects the coins of the United Kingdom.

Commonwealth countries adopt the effigies of their choosing. The Isle of Man, for instance, uses the Rank-Broadley effigy (for coins it issues through the Pobjoy Mint). Niue has as late as 2012 used the Maklouf effigy, though more recent coins from Niue have featured the Rank-Broadley effigy. Niue issues coins through at least two partners, the Mint of Poland and the New Zealand Mint.

Coin World will have more reporting on this story in the Nov. 24 issue and online.

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