Portraits of a Queen – which is Britain’s favourite?

With the new portrait of Queen Elizabeth II due to be revealed on Monday, I thought I’d revisit a blog I posted in 2013, which saw the 60th anniversary of the Queen on our coinage.

Back then you voted Mary Gillick’s 1953 portrait of the Queen the best, by a very slim margin. Will the new portrait become the nation’s favourite? Let’s take a look at the previous designs…

The first Queen Elizabeth II coins were struck in 1953 and since then four different effigies adorned our coins.

Gillick

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.


machin1968 – 1984: Arnold Machin RA

With the upcoming decimilisation, 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.

Maklouf

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.

IRB1998 – 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”.


If you’re interested…

The Queen's New Portrait Coin Collecting Pack

Collect all 8 of the ‘new portrait’ coins when you find them in your change with The Queen’s New Portrait Coin Collecting Pack. Available now for just £3.99 (+p&p).

Click here for details >>>

About Ian Glen

Ian is the Managing Director of The Westminster Collection - the UK's leading distributor of coins and stamps. He is also the founder of Change Checker (www.changechecker.org).
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One Response to Portraits of a Queen – which is Britain’s favourite?

  1. as above says:

    my comment is about the TV coverage of the Ve celebrations. I lived through world war 2 and I remember the people who were dropped by parachute into German occupied Europe and elsewhere who if they were captured by the Germans were tortured to death. The Queens cousin mentioned that she had worked during the war at the building which received all the messages from these people which gave essential information to the military. There was no follow up to this statement it was completely ignored by the presenter. I remember one young woman who was captured tortured horribly and then shot even as the allies were approaching a few days before the end of the war. There heroism should not be ignored and I am upset by the fact that it was at a time when everyone else was being mentioned even the land girls who hardly faced actual battle.
    Margaret Smith Gabbitas.

    Like

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