Behind the design: The Platinum Jubilee Masterpiece that SOLD OUT in hours!

A flagship specification for Westminster collectors, ‘Masterpiece’ issues truly live up to their name and this British Isles Platinum Jubilee release was no different! Issued to mark Her Majesty’s record-breaking reign, this coin was struck from Pure Silver to a Proof finish and features a thoughtful design that pays tribute to the constant and reassuring figure. In fact, artist Neil Bromley spent 2-3 weeks on the exquisite reverse design, and we think he did an amazing job. Just ask the 285 collectors who have bought this Masterpiece, causing a complete SELL OUT!

For this particular Masterpiece, the Queen’s Virtues are the focus — and in this blog, we’ll dissect the fascinating design

What are the Queen’s Virtues?

The Queen’s Virtues encapsulate the personifications of both Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II. They are widely acknowledged as principles founded by Queen Victoria in the Victorian Age, and to this day, are carried forward by Queen Elizabeth II and so remain the core virtues of the British nation. The virtues are Victory, Charity, Justice, Courage, Truth and Constancy.

Victory (Victoria)

The Queen holds the position of Head of the Armed Forces and as such, victory as a virtue, represents the end of conflict and celebration of peace.

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Victoria design on Platinum Jubilee Masterpiece

Charity (Caritas)

The virtue Charity expresses the Sovereigns responsibility to make charitable efforts to take care of the suffering.

Charity - Behind the design: The Platinum Jubilee Masterpiece that SOLD OUT in hours!
Caritas design on Platinum Jubilee Masterpiece

Justice (Justitia)

Sovereigns have established legal systems throughout the UK and from the beginning, have become important figures in the enforcement of law. Therefore, one of the Queens virtues is ‘Justice’ — as monarchs have been known as the ‘Fount of Justice’. The Platinum Jubilee Silver Masterpiece features a winged Angel representing justice for the people on earth, ensuring harmony and orderly manner within society.

Justice - Behind the design: The Platinum Jubilee Masterpiece that SOLD OUT in hours!
Justitia design on Platinum Jubilee Masterpiece

Courage (Animus)

Courage helps the Sovereign perform tasks that need to be carried out, and it is said the virtue courage makes all others possible.

Courage - Behind the design: The Platinum Jubilee Masterpiece that SOLD OUT in hours!
Animus design on Platinum Jubilee Masterpiece

Truth (Veritas)

Truthfulness is important to the Sovereign — Our Queen Elizabeth II is known to be the searcher and seeker of truth.

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Veritas design on Platinum Jubilee Masterpiece

Constancy (Constantia)

As the longest reigning monarch, Her Majesty has shown great constancy over her 70-year reign, maintaining commitments and Royal duties.

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Constantia design on Platinum Jubilee Masterpiece

The masterpiece carries each of these virtues in segments, with the seventh segment at the bottom displaying ‘70’ in Roman numerals and ‘Platinum Jubilee’ written in Latin.

Silver - Behind the design: The Platinum Jubilee Masterpiece that SOLD OUT in hours!
British Isles Platinum Jubilee Silver Masterpiece

Meet the Designer

Neil Bromley who studied art for six years at college and graduated with a H.N.D in Calligraphy and Heraldry at Reigate School of Art in 1995, spent 2-3 weeks designing the reverse. Having designed and drawn over 30 coin designs to date, his work includes the painting of family crests, shields and full coats of arms.

Bromley took inspiration from the Queen Victoria Monument in London, situated in front of Buckingham Palace, which commemorates the death of Queen Victoria in 1902.

Using 2,300 tons of white Carrara marble, the central monument is 25 metres high and was created between 1906 and 1924 by Sir Thomas Brock. It features Victoria, as well as statues representing courage, constancy, victory, charity, truth, and motherhood.

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Queen Victoria Monument in London

Creating a Masterpiece

Bromley spent many hours researching the Victoria Monument — alternative images of the six virtue statues from different angles were found to define a balance within the coin. He also took inspiration from some of the original drawings by Thomas Brock and old photographs.

Once Neil had suitable images, they were drawn by hand to form a pencil sketch on trace.

Each virtue was then re-drawn on hot press paper as separate single artworks. Each drawing taking around 2-3 days. Given the amount of detail in each statue, it was important to capture as much as possible and to create depth.

The coin design was created separately and took into account the directions of the images that related to the Latin text in each segment. The Latin for each segment was discussed through a medieval forum to gain the correct spelling and to advise on a suitable Latin inscription for Platinum Jubilee. This was discussed and agreed upon by several medieval historians and calligraphers.

The final Masterpiece design was then struck from .999 Pure Silver to a Proof finish, with selective 24 Carat Gold-plating added to enhance elements of the design. The Proof finish requires immense craftsmanship and as such a mirror-like result sharpens the design.

And as I mentioned earlier, this incredible piece SOLD OUT in a matter of hours

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Was this the most famous Banknote ever issued?

First issued by the Bank of England in 1694, Banknotes were originally supposed to be used as a receipt in exchange for gold loans to the bank. Owners of Banknotes could literally take their note to the Bank of England and exchange it for the equivalent price in gold.

In fact, all British notes still have the statement “I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of…” to this day.

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Polymer £10 banknote showing the statement “I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of ten pounds”

Britain stopped using the gold standard in 1931, meaning that the right to redeem Banknotes for gold ceased. And by 1945, a metal thread had to be introduced on the £5 note following a security threat from Nazi Germany.

In this blog, we’ll explore the history of the ‘White Fiver’, why an estimated 70,000,000 of these ‘notes’ were burned and the story of one of wartime’s most over-the-top secret plots…

The Story Behind The ‘White Fiver’

The £5 note was only ever intended as a temporary measure, William Pitt, the Prime Minister at the time originally planned to take the £5 out of circulation once economic conditions improved. However, the £5 note has since become the longest serving denomination and at one point was even the highest denomination Bank of England note.

Active between 1793 and 1945, the Bank of England’s White Paper £5 note was the second variant of the denomination and became known as the ‘White Fiver‘. Much bigger than today’s equivalent (which stands at 135 x 70mm), the original paper notes were a huge 195 x 120mm.

But production of these notes was halted during World War II and a new metal thread security feature was introduced to combat counterfeiting attempts from Nazi Germany.

HOBNI Single White Fiver - Was this the most famous Banknote ever issued?

Operation Bernhard

The largest counterfeiting operation in history, Operation Bernhard was the codename of a secret Nazi plot to destabilise the British economy. The Nazis planned to drop counterfeit notes throughout Europe to cause artificial inflation of the British pound.

In 1942, production of counterfeit British ‘White Fivers’ began behind the gates of Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Prisoners worked to perfect the process, revealing over 150 secret security marks, creating identical ink, solving the serial numbering system and printing the notes. By 1945 it is estimated that 70,000,000 notes were printed by inmates – a cache of upwards of £100,000,000.

The plot never came to fruition and at the end of the war Nazis burned huge amounts of British “currency”. But the Bank of England didn’t take any chances and withdrew all circulating notes.

Unsurprisingly Operation Bernhard, as it was known, is remembered as one of wartime’s most over-the-top secret plots.

And that’s why, over 60 years since it was legal tender, the ‘White Fiver’ remains the most famous banknote ever issued…

Your Limited Edition Collecting Opportunity

Today you can own the White Fiver Gold-plated Ingot for FREE (you’ll only pay postage!) with this introductory offer.

Your White Fiver Ingot is plated in 24 Carat Gold and struck to a Proof-like finish, framing the famous black and white design superbly.

HOBNI Single White Fiver Lifestyle OBV REV - Was this the most famous Banknote ever issued?

Just 9,950 of these White Fiver Gold-plated Ingots have been issued for collectors worldwide, a tiny number given the important part the White Fiver has played in British history.

And what’s more, you will gain exclusive access to the History of Banknotes Ingot Collection.

HOBNI Set - Was this the most famous Banknote ever issued?

Introductory Offer

The White Fiver is an Introductory Offer for the History of Banknotes Ingot Collection. Each month, you’ll receive two Gold-plated Banknote Ingots for £25.00 (+postage). Next month, you’ll also receive your FREE Presentation Case to house your collection. You can cancel your subscription at anytime. Click here to secure yours >>

Click here to purchase the White Fiver Gold-Plated Ingot with no subscription for the full price of £19.99 (+postage).

HMS Endurance discovered: Sir Ernest Shackleton’s lost ship found in Antarctic

You might have already seen the news that the HMS Endurance has been discovered more than 3,000 metres below the Antarctic Ocean.

It’s a fascinating discovery – in fact, the team that discovered the lost ship said that it’s ‘by far the finest wooden shipwreck’ they’ve ever seen.

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The stern of the Endurance with the name and emblematic polestar. Credit: Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust and National Geographic

If you don’t know why this story has captured everybody’s imagination, I’m going to explain to you why Sir Ernest Shackleton’s expedition on his ship HMS Endurance is one of the most enthralling stories in British maritime history

The story of Endurance…

Sir Ernest Shackleton’s expeditions to the Antarctic captured my imagination as a young man, and even inspired the likes of Sir Edmund Hillary.

His most famous voyage was on the HMS Endurance – the very ship that’s discovery was announced this week. It’s this journey that produced one of the greatest stories of heroism in British exploration history.

Shackleton’s attempt to complete a Trans-Antarctic voyage left him and his crew stranded on the ice for 6 months with no prospect of rescue after the Endurance was crushed and sank in the place where it’s since remained for more than a century.

With the pack ice breaking apart underneath their feet, Shackleton and the crew of the Endurance had to make a decision and fast.

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The crew of Endurance on Elephant Island, off the coast of Antarctica. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Using three small fishing boats the crew sailed 800 miles through the treacherous Southern Ocean, battling against hurricane force winds and icy water to cross South Georgia’s uncharted glaciers.

During this tortuous journey, Shackleton’s main concern was for his men. At one point, Shackleton handed over his precious mittens to a member of the crew who lost his at sea, suffering frostbite as a result.

When rescue finally arrived, the crew of the Endurance returned home to find that the First World War had broken out in their absence.

Shackleton’s immense journey, his bravery, and his endurance firmly secured him a place amongst Britain’s greatest.

The Discovery of the Endurance

Now, more than 100 years since it was last seen, the HMS Endurance has finally been discovered!

Dr John Shears, the expedition leader of Endurance22, said the search for Endurance had made “polar history” by completing what he called “the world’s most challenging shipwreck search”.


In memory of the famous explorer and his ship the HMS Endurance, you have the chance to own a collection of coins that celebrate the famous explorer.

View our range of Sir Ernest Shackleton commemorative coins here >>

Ernest Shackleton BU 2 Set - HMS Endurance discovered: Sir Ernest Shackleton's lost ship found in Antarctic
The Ernest Shackleton 100th Anniversary £2 BU Set