Births, deaths, weddings, christenings, jubilees, anniversaries and birthdays – The Royal Family have had commemorative coins issued to mark them all.
But which Royal coins are really worth adding to your collection? With so many out there it can be difficult to know where to start. That’s why I’ve put together this guide to nine of my favourite coins, each representing a member of the modern Royal family. Without further ado, in no particular order…
1. Princess Diana
No royal collection would be complete without a Princess Diana coin.
The most poignant issue was struck by The Royal Mint in 1999 following the tragic death of ‘the people’s princess’. Diana touched the hearts and lives of thousands across the globe and this coin commemorates her life – with a beautifully engraved portrait by David Cornell. Such an important member of the Royal family should forever be remembered and this is the perfect way in which to pay tribute to her life.
2. Prince Charles
The Prince Charles 50th Birthday coin holds the distinction of being the rarest UK Gold £5 coin to be issued. Just 773 were struck and it also features the most words of any British coin within its design.
Prince Charles founded the Princes Trust in 1976 – a charity which was created in order to help the lives of disadvantaged young people. The coin was issued to celebrate his 50th birthday and honour his charity. As the longest serving heir in British history, Prince Charles is certainly a Royal figure that is certainly deserving of a commemorative coin.
3. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
The Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was viewed by an estimated 2 billion people around the world.
The most iconic photograph of the whole ceremony was undoubtedly The Balcony Kiss – and this was captured perfectly on this Cook Islands $1 coin. Plated in 24 carat gold the Royal Wedding Photographic coin had an edition limit of just 24,500 – which isn’t many considering the number of people who tuned in to watch the ceremony. In years to come when William is King, those who have this coin will own a lasting memory of the day he married his Queen.
4. Prince George
Born 22nd July, 2013, the arrival of the young Prince George stirred global interest – especially from the USA. As the first son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George became third in line to the throne and is our future King.
The Perth Mint issued a Royal commemorative coin which really stood out. Depicting William and Kate with the new-born Prince this was the first official coin from a major nation to feature an engraving of Prince George.
5. Princess Charlotte
On 2nd May this year, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcomed their second child into the world – Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. The Royal christening took place on 5th July at St Mary Magdalene church on the Sandringham estate.
With a design inspired by the stunning Lily Font which is used for Royal christenings, the Silver Proof £5 Coin issued by Guernsey captured the moment perfectly. The elaborate one-off design makes this one of the premier commemoratives celebrating the young Princess.
6. Queen Elizabeth II
In 2012 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Diamond Jubilee. It was a multinational celebration that marked the 60th anniversary of the her accession in 1952.
To celebrate, an exceptional ‘double obverse’ coin was issued. The coin is the first ever UK crown to feature the Queen’s full profile on both sides. With such a rare design, the Diamond Jubilee coin is certainly one which adds another dimension to any Royal collection.
7. Prince Philip
Prince Philip’s life of Royal service began at Queen Elizabeth II’s accession in 1952 when he was promoted to Commander after a distinguished career in the Royal Navy.
To mark his 90th birthday in 2011, a specially commissioned portrait was struck on a £5 coin issued by the Royal Mint. This was the first coin in British history to feature both a Monarch and a Consort on opposite sides.
8. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
The 1980 UK 25p Coin was issued in celebration of the Queen Mother’s 80th birthday. The design features the effigy of the Queen Mother surrounded by bows and lions – which is a pun on her family name ‘Bowes-Lyon’
This was the penultimate 25p crown issued in the UK and was the first ever British coin to feature a living person other than the reigning monarch.
A special mention goes to the Canada 2014 $20 ‘Royal Generations’ Silver Proof Coin. This coin was issued to commemorate the birth of Prince George and pictures three generations of heirs.
I think it’s particularly special as Prince George’s birth marks only the second time in history that Britain has had three living male heirs to the throne from separate generations – and this coin captures them all.
So if you’re looking to put together a Royal collection, these coins are my personal recommendations, each with a story to tell. If you own some already, let me know in the comments…
There is a lot of satisfaction in collecting coins, be they ancient or modern, struck from gold, silver or base metal, from the Royal Mint or any other mint. Sign up to The Westminster Collection’s mailing list and you will receive regular information and offers on many different kinds of coins.
You may however specialise in a particular type of coin or choose current UK coins. You’ll be offered the most current non-precious metal coins in uncirculated condition at an affordable cost. You can opt for commemorative coins or special issues from the various mints commemorating great events such as royal weddings, or the London 2012, special anniversaries such as a royal jubilee and even great people such as Winston Churchill.
You could concentrate on historic coins. Although the rarest coins are probably best left to museums and millionaires, some very old coins can be surprisingly affordable. The Romans were great coiners during the four centuries they occupied Britain – and great hoarders of coins. Hoards of Roman coins are still uncovered by archaeologists and metal detectors. Collecting these old coins, handled by legionnaires, wine merchants and peasants almost 2,000 years ago provides a unique insight into and link with the past.
There are many books on general and specialist aspects of coin collecting. The Internet is also an excellent source of information, though the quality and accuracy is sometimes unreliable.
Collecting Sovereigns: risks and rewards
In the past ten years, the price of gold has increased by hundreds of percent. Good news for anyone who has been collecting gold sovereigns, but it has also placed them beyond the reach of many
The sovereign was first issued in England in 1489, though the modern sovereign containing 7.988 grams of 22-carat gold dates from 1817. After stopping production in 1917, the Royal Mint started sovereign production in 1957, producing bullion sovereigns mainly for investors. “Bullion” sovereigns are essentially sold for their gold content value.
The Royal Mint strikes “Proof” sovereigns in limited numbers for collectors, often to commemorate a special event. The Royal Mint annually issues limited numbers of full sets of gold coins – half-sovereign, sovereign, £2, and £5 gold coins, which make a spectacular addition to your collection or a once-in-a-lifetime gift.
Next time – Part III – Coin Collecting Made Easy