This year Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Sapphire Jubilee – the first ever British monarch in history to do so. To mark the occasion, a brand new British Isles £5 Proof coin has been issued featuring a sparkling sapphire crystal as a truly fitting tribute to Her Majesty’s record-breaking reign.
In light of its release, I thought I’d take a look at the history and timeless designs of previous British Jubilee commemorative coins issued during the Queen’s reign…
The 1953 Coronation UK Crown
The 1953 crown was issued to celebrate Her Majesty’s Coronation and was the very first UK commemorative coin to be issued during Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. Unusually, the obverse portrait features an engraving of the Queen riding on horseback at the Trooping of the Colour ceremony in 1953 with an edge inscription which reads ‘Faith and Truth I will bear Unto You’, taken from the Coronation Oath. The Coronation crown was to form the basis of future Jubilee commemorative crown designs and still remains one of the most sought-after by collectors. It is often the starting point for many great collections.
The Silver Jubilee UK Crown
In 1977, Her Majesty celebrated 25 years on the throne – her Silver Jubilee and the first of her reign. To celebrate the occasion, a new commemorative crown was issued by the Royal Mint designed by renowned sculptor and designer of the Queen’s portrait on the UK’s stamps, Arnold Machin. The coin’s reverse design is focused upon the Coronation theme and features the Ampulla and anointing spoon from the Royal regalia surrounded by a heraldic floral pattern and the Crown.
The coin’s obverse takes inspiration from the 1953 Coronation Crown, showing a newly designed image of the Queen on horseback. Unusually, this is the only crown in British history not to feature an edge inscription or date on its reverse and is one of the last crowns to be issued with a face value of 25 pence (commemorative crowns issued after 1990 have a face value of £5), which makes it continually sought-after among collectors.
The Golden Jubilee UK Crown
2002 saw the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, marking her 50th year on the throne and the release of a new commemorative, this time, issued with a face value of £5 . The coin was designed and sculpted by Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS, who created the fourth portrait of the Queen on the obverse of our UK circulating coins. The reverse design once again, features a newly designed image of Her Majesty on horseback inspired by the original Coronation crown design. The reverse features a specially designed portrait of the Queen.
The Diamond Jubilee UK Crown
In 2012, the nation witnessed the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Sixty years on the throne is a landmark milestone and one that has only been reached by one other monarch – Queen Victoria in 1897. This is the first ever coin to be struck to mark a Diamond Jubilee because there were no special coins issued for Queen Victoria’s.
Special one-off portrait designs
To mark such a momentous occasion, Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS was once again commissioned to design the coin. The obverse features a portrait of Her Majesty crowned and wearing the robes of the Order of the Garter, inspired by the sculpture that appears in the entrance of the Supreme Court building in Parliament Square. The reverse design shows a portrait of the Young Queen inspired by Mary Gillick’s portrait of Her Majesty, the very first to feature on the obverse of the UK coins in 1953.
The Sapphire Jubilee £5 Guernsey Coin
2017 marks Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s 65th year on the throne, the first ever British Monarch in British history to do so. To mark such a landmark, historic occasion, this brand new limited edition £5 Proof coin has been issued by the Bailiwick of Guernsey.
Fully approved by Her Majesty the Queen, the design by ex-Royal Mint engraver, Michael Guilfoyle features the Sovereign’s crossed sceptres from the Coronation regalia with the number 65 marking the years Her Majesty has been on the throne with a stunning crystal inset into the design representing a blue sapphire.
You can now own the new Guernsey Sapphire Jubilee Proof £5 Coin today.
With a low edition limit of just 4,950 worldwide in such a landmark year, demand for this limited edition special Proof coin is expected to be high.
When William Hague announced that part of British Antarctica would be renamed ‘Queen Elizabeth Land’ in honour of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee, little did he know it would be the start of a race against time for one of the world’s smallest and most remote postal administrations!
Against the odds
The gesture put this tiny island in the South Pole – one of the UK’s 14 British overseas territories – back on the map. For the British Antarctic Post Office, the opportunity to issue new commemorative stamps was not to be missed even though it presented some very big challenges!
With no telephone, internet, running water or electricity, daily life in this inhospitable region can be difficult at the best of times. And as the island can only be accessed during its summer months of October to March, there was also a deadline to beat …
79 days and counting
Following the Foreign Secretary’s announcement on 18th December 2012, in order to issue the new Queen Elizabeth Land stamps before October 2013, they had to be designed, approved, printed and on board the last ship from the Falklands to Antarctica by 7th March. That gave them just 79 days!
It was going to be tight, but soon enough, stamp designs were submitted and approved by the relevant authorities, including the Queen herself, and the presses started rolling. Hot off the press, the first stamps were quickly taken to RAF Northolt to be airlifted to Port Stanley on the Falklands where the ship was waiting.
It had been a close shave but on 18th March, the new stamps arrived on Antarctica, ready to be affixed and postmarked, along with 495 exclusive First Day Covers which had also made the long journey south.
The Queen Elizabeth Land Commemorative Silver Coin Cover was later completed with a new silver proof crown, issued by the island’s Government also in celebration of the new name.
Now sold out.
Just months after its release, the 5oz Silver Coin issued by The Royal Mint to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee has officially sold out. It will now join an impressive list of sell-out coins from around the world struck in celebration of Her Majesty’s sixty year reign.
Snapped up quickly
News of its sell-out may however not come as too much of a surprise to collectors. The Diamond Jubilee 5oz Silver Proof Coin was issued with a worldwide mintage of just 1,952 – the year of the Queen’s accession – so demand to own one of the coveted coins has been high.
Plus, while the 5oz is an established and respected format elsewhere, it’s only the second 5oz silver coin ever minted in the UK. The first UK coin in the 5oz format was also struck by The Royal Mint this year and marked the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Another Diamond Jubilee sell-out
A significant number of Diamond Jubilee coins issued by mints around the world have now completely sold out – several within a very short space of time. The Queen’s popularity and the rarity of the Diamond Jubilee have undoubtedly also added to worldwide demand.
The Diamond Jubilee 5oz Silver Proof Coin boasts a full 5 ounces of 999/1000 silver and an immaculate proof finish. The coin was designed by Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS.