Just a few days ago Royal Mail announced four stamps dedicated to Prince Philip, honouring his life and 70 years of service to the nation.
The black and white images featured on these new stamps tell a story of the Prince’s life, beautifully capturing him at different stages throughout, including visiting the Royal Windsor Horse Show and attending the passing out parade of Prince Andrew.
The stamps won’t be released until next month, but when they are a limited number will be postmarked with the first day of issue, and many collectors will be eager to add these important commemoratives to their collection.
But this isn’t the first time that stamps were issued to mark significant moments in Prince Philip’s life. In 1972 a set of stamps featuring both the Queen and Prince Philip were issued to mark their Silver Wedding anniversary. Designed by Jeffery Matthews, they are still in popular demand with collectors today as it was the first time the Prince and the Queen featured on a stamp together.
Of course, these stamps aren’t the only memorial commemorative issued to mark the long life and achievements of His Royal Highness. In 2017, a special UK £5 Brilliant Uncirculated commemorative coin was issued by The Royal Mint to mark Prince Philip’s retirement from public duty. It features a portrait of the young Prince by Humphrey Paget, and due to collector demand it’s now unavailable at The Royal Mint.
Collectors have also been sourcing historic coins to pay tribute to Prince Philip – specifically coins from 1921, the year in which His Royal Highness was born, which have increasingly been incredibly difficult to find. At over 100 years old, with precious metal content, and having been issued in a significant year, they have always been popular with collectors.
In the coming months, many more commemoratives are sure to be released to mark the life and achievements of His Royal Highness, Prince Philip. His Royal Navy career and contributions to charity, and his pioneering of the Duke of Edinburgh scheme made him one of the most accomplished and dedicated senior Royals in history. We will remember him for many things, and these new stamp releases are sure to play a part in that.
If you’re interested:
Prince Philip Memorial Historic Coin and Stamp Collection: JUST 250 AUTHORISED.
You can pre-order the brand new Prince Philip stamps, postmarked on the first day of issue, the 2017 sold out £5 coin, and a collection of historic coins issued in the year of the Prince’s birth – but only 250 will ever be issued. Click here to find out more.
Over the coming days and weeks much will be written about Prince Philip. The dashing naval officer who married a Princess and has since provided steadfast support to the Queen as Britain’s longest serving Consort. But few of the many obituaries will dwell deeply on his key involvement in Britain’s coinage.
First Job – new coin designs
A new monarch means many things – one is a new coinage. On 21 March 1952, just weeks after the Queen’s accession to the throne, Prince Philip attended his first meeting as President of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee on the design of coins, medals, seals and decorations (RMAC); a role that he would hold for the next 47 years, until his retirement in 1999.
A keen artist himself, the Prince’s first job was to oversee the selection of the Queen’s portrait to ordain her new coins. An uncrowned Queen was chosen from a field of seventeen designs, giving Nottingham born sculptor, Mary Gillick, the honour of creating the most seen portrait of the new Queen. Equally importantly, the young Prince oversaw the design of the most important coin of the moment – the Coronation Crown, featuring Gilbert Ledward’s Queen on horseback on the obverse and Edgar Fuller’s reverse design containing the Coats of Arms of the constituent nations of the United Kingdom.
The UK’s biggest ever currency change
Gillick’s design remained on pre-decimal coinage until 1970, when Prince Philip was involved in another huge coinage milestone – the introduction of decimalisation. The process required a complete redesign of Britain’s coinage as well as an updated effigy of Her Majesty, designed to help the new denominations stand out. The RMAC selected Royal Academician Arnold Machin to sculpt the Queen, this time wearing a tiara. However, it was the reverse coin designs that were perhaps more significant.
A “monstrous piece of metal”
Under Prince Philip’s presidency, the RMAC started to work in top secret on designs as early as 1962, before there was any official government announcement confirming decimalisation. The final designs were created by Christopher Ironside and featured heraldic elements of the United Kingdom. But it was the new 50p coin – introduced to replace the 10/- note – that caused the greatest stir, with its unique heptagonal (7-sided) shape. Now Britain’s most popular coin with collectors, that was certainly not the case on its launch with one newspaper calling it a “monstrous piece of metal” and a retired colonel even starting Anti-Heptagonist movement.
In the 28 years that followed Decimalisation, Prince Philip guided the RMAC through two more effigies, Raphael Maklouf (1985 – 1997) and Ian Rank-Broadly (1998 – 2015), as well as the launch of 20p, £1 and £2 coins into circulation and numerous commemorative issues.
The five UK Coins that feature Prince Philip
Of course, Prince Philip has also featured on UK coins himself. The 1972 Crown issued to mark his Silver Wedding Anniversary was an understated affair. However, in 1997, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary, and Prince Philip featured on a UK coin for the very first time as part of a conjoined effigy on the obverse of the commemorative £5 coin. 2007 saw a similar conjoined portrait before the recent 2017 Platinum Wedding Anniversary design, which featured the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh on horseback in what can only been seen as a nod to the original 1953 Coronation Crown as well as a third conjoined portrait.
Yet it was in 2011 that Prince Philip was finally granted the greatest privilege – his own £5 Coin to celebrate his 90th Birthday – a splendid close up portrait of the Duke by Mark Richards FRBS. This was followed in 2017, with a design of the young Prince Philip by Humphrey Paget to mark Prince Philip stepping down from public duties after 70 years of service. We will remember Prince Philip for many things – but among them, spare some room for the man who has had more influence over the nation’s coins than any other. Surely the nation will do just that with a final memorial £5 Coin, in the same way we paid tribute to Princess Diana and HM Queen Mother.
Click here to view a number of new and previously issued numismatic and philatelic tributes to HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
In just a few weeks’ time something remarkable happens. Her Majesty the Queen and HRH Prince Philip celebrate 70 years of marriage – their Platinum Wedding Anniversary
You probably know someone who has celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary (50 years of marriage). You may even know someone who has reached 60 years – their Diamond Wedding Anniversary. But I’d be happy to place a small wager that you don’t know anyone who has managed 70 years of marriage.
That’s because only around 30 couples in the whole of the UK ever reach that milestone each year. Or to put it another way – the Queen and Prince Philip are literally one in a million.
And to mark the occasion, eight special commemorative 50p coins have been issued. It is the VERY FIRST time that British Isles specification 50p coins have been struck to mark a key royal wedding anniversary such as this.
Most importantly, these coins have been authorised by the Isle of Man Treasury, have full legal status AND a very limited number will enter circulation in the Isle of Man.
The UK’s most collectable coins…
The 50p coin has rapidly become the UK’s most collectable coin spurred on by the release of the Olympic 50p coins and, more recently, the incredible demand for the UK’s Beatrix Potter coins.
And that’s why these issues are so important.
British Isles 50p coins like this rarely turn up in your change in the UK, making them some of the most sought-after circulating coins around.
As the first major Royal wedding anniversary to feature on any British Isles standard specification 50p coins, this is a very significant moment.
A moment that’s made even more important due to the incredible milestone 70 years of marriage represents.
How you can own the new coins…
Start collecting the new Platinum Wedding 50p coins, struck to superior Brilliant Uncirculated Collector Quality for your special introductory price of just £3.99.