This year, a unique set of nine pure gold coins has been released to mark the prestigious heritage of the East India Company, still trading after 417 years.
At its peak the British company single-handedly accounted for half the world’s trade. They minted their own currency, started the mass production of tea for export in India and transformed dining tables in the West forever by introducing new exotic ingredients and flavours.
But despite the Company ceasing operations in 1874, it had changed the way the world traded. The Times commented ‘It accomplished a work such as in the whole history of the human race no other trading Company ever attempted, and such as none, surely, is likely to attempt in the years to come.’
Just 500 gold coin sets issued to mark this history
Now The East India Company has issued The Empire Collection, a brand new, limited edition set of nine 24-carat gold coins which tell the story of the company from its foundation in 1600.
Each coin features a depiction of a British monarch who ruled during the Company’s first period of operations – from Queen Elizabeth I to Queen Victoria –alongside a key historic symbol.
Only 500 sets will ever be struck, making each of these coins immediately scarce in comparison to say, the Gold Sovereign, of which 10,500 will be issued this year.
Nine British Monarchs – Nine Gold Coins
The first three coins of the collection honour Elizabeth I, James I and Charles II. They feature symbols influenced by the Red Dragon (one of the East India Company’s ships), the rare Rose Ryal coins, and the charters granted by Charles II.
The next three coins mark the reigns of William III, Queen Anne and George II and make symbolic reference to Fort William, the main garrison for the British in Calcutta, the Company ‘balemark’ (the heart shape used as a trademark for all Company goods) and the design of the 1758 shilling.
The final three coins pay tribute to George III, William IV and Queen Victoria. The George III coins pictures the famous ‘Spade Guinea’, whilst the William IV coin depicts the beading and lettering used on the Mohur – the Company’s own currency. Queen Victoria’s coin is graced by a Crown containing a precious jewel set by the East India Company, marking when Victoria became Empress of India.
Finished to an exceptionally high standard in a numbered luxury Presentation Case decorated with brass highlights, the collection truly represents the global resonance of The East India Company. With just 500 available The Empire Collection is one of the most impressive gold coin sets you are likely to see, and it is bound to become a future collector priority.
If you’re interested…
You can now own the Empire Collection, but with such a tiny edition limit, it won’t be available for long. Sign up below if you’d like to be contacted about owning this impressive gold coin set:
The results are in and I can now reveal your top 3 coin designs of the year!
3rd place – The Guernsey 2014 First World War Centenary £5 Coin
2nd Place – The UK 2014 Lord Kitchener £2 Coin
And the winner….
1st Place – The Jersey 2014 ‘100 Poppies’ £5 Coin
Thanks for all your votes! The striking design and the importance of the work of the Royal British Legion combined to make the ‘100 Poppies’ coin a real stand out this year.
Now it’s time to look forward to the new issues for 2015!
If you’re interested…
We still have some stock available of the UK 2014 Lord Kitchener £2 Coin. Click here
50 years ago in 1964 Her Majesty the Queen approved a new portrait for her coinage, and set in motion a chain of events that led to the creation of the most reproduced image in the world.
The portrait in question was designed by Arnold Machin RA – and if you look in your pocket now you’re still likely to find a coin bearing the distinctive profile.
But even though millions of coins are struck every year – it was when the design was adapted for use on our stamps that it really took off…
300 billion and counting
Best estimates suggest that the Arnold Machin RA effigy of Queen Elizabeth II has now been reproduced on our stamps over 300 billion times – a staggering number.
In fact, amongst collectors, UK definitive stamps are now simply referred to as ‘Machins’ because the image is so ubiquitous.
But who is Arnold Machin RA, and how did he come to design this instantly recognisable image?
From pottery to sculpting the Queen’s portrait
Arnold Machin was born in 1911 in Stoke-on-Trent. Modelling and sculpture was in the family, but his father struggled to make ends meet with his freelance modelling job. Consequently Machin started work aged 14 at the Minton China Factory, as an apprentice china painter.
But he could not keep away from sculpture, and after a working for many years in the arts was appointed an associate member of the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 1947.
As if this wasn’t enough of an honour, in 1964 Machin was approached to design an effigy of the Queen for the new decimal coinage to be introduced in 1971. So, despite never having designed a coin before, Machin was granted four sittings with the Queen.
Cleverly using the bas-relief technique, which creates a raised sculpture from a plaster base, Machin came up with a design the Queen appreciated so much she has insisted it be used unchanged on our stamps for the past 40 years.
An £18,000 plaster cast
Perhaps testament to the enduring popularity of the image, and the design process behind it, one of Machin’s original plaster casts recently sold at auction for the princely sum of £18,000.
And I don’t think this will be the last we’ll hear of record breaking Machin sales – as time goes by the power of the image will not diminish, yet the availability of collectables will.
And now we are due to see a new portrait of the Queen on our coinage in 2015, this is bound to be an area to watch.
You may be interested in…
The Westminster Collection is proud to present the first ever officially licensed silver philatelic set featuring Arnold Machin’s famous effigy of the Queen.
NOW SOLD OUT