On the 20th November, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh will celebrate their Platinum Wedding Anniversary – that’s an incredible 70 years of marriage and a first in British royal history.
In honour of the occasion a new coin has been issued – featuring a specially commissioned one-year-only double portrait.
The coin has been officially approved by both Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip, and proudly displays their initials surrounded by a design inspired by the North Rose Window of Westminster Abbey – where their wedding took place in 1947.
But it is the new double portrait that will turn heads and have collectors rushing to secure theirs. Designed by renowned sculptor Luigi Badia, it features both The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh and will only ever be seen on Platinum Wedding Anniversary Coins.
It’s not very often that one-year-only portraits are released, not to mention a double portrait. They really are only issued for the most important Royal anniversaries.
As you’ll appreciate, designing a new effigy is not a simple process, with an extremely rigorous approval procedure.
That’s why special portraits such as this are few and far between and are so popular with collectors.
Luigi, from New York, explains the concept behind the design:
“I was extremely honored to be commissioned to sculpt a brand new portrait to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh’s 70th wedding anniversary. I was inspired to use a contemporary image of the royal couple to capture both their achievement of reaching such a milestone and to reflect on the long life they have shared together.”
The design process…
Careful consideration has to be put into the shape and size of the coin. Luigi painstakingly hand-engraved the design – with the added complication of retaining the typesetting within the circular shape.
The finalised ‘plaster’ engraving is then ready to be reduced down into a die (shown opposite) – which is hardened and used to mint the commemorative coins collectors can own.
Struck to a variety of specifications…
The new coin is to be struck in a range of different specifications, from a face value version right up to a staggering 10oz platinum edition – which has already sold out.
And the other coins are likely to prove just as popular – with a highly collectable proof coin, a pure silver coin, and a 5oz gold coin amongst those available, there is something to suit everyone.
These coins really do make a fitting tribute to Her Majesty and Prince Philip’s 70 years of marriage, and the stunning double portrait marks them out as truly prestigious commemoratives to forever remember this once-in-a-lifetime celebration.
If you are interested…
You can mark the occasion by adding the Platinum Wedding Anniversary Proof £5 Coin to your collection today. It’s limited to just 4,950 worldwide and a sell-out is expected, especially as it features the new one-year-only double portrait.
I recently reported that Royal Mail had revealed six of the best painted portraits from the Queen’s sixty-year reign as part of its new ‘Six Decades of Royal Portraits’ issue. A fitting tribute to the Queen as patron of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, sixty years after her Coronation.
The six included an early 1953 Coronation portrait plus the first one ever commissioned by Royal Mail. But which one gets your royal seal of approval? Here’s a brief reminder of all the contenders:
The Italian job – still the most iconic portrait of her reign? Fifty-seven years on, Pietro Annigoni’s portrayal continues to court controversy.
Chelsea pensioners’ portrait – Andrew Festing’s 1999 portrait, painted for the Royal Hospital Chelsea, home of the famous pensioners, where it still hangs today.
The first forty years – displayed at the National Portrait Gallery from 1992, Richard Stone’s portrait now hangs in the more modest setting of Colchester town hall.
The Royal Mail world-exclusive – painted over three sittings by Nicky Philipps at Buckingham Palace at the end of her Diamond Jubilee year, 2012.
Royal Mail has unveiled its first ever commissioned portrait of Queen Elizabeth II to coincide with her 87th birthday yesterday. The new portrait by Nicky Philipps will be the centrepiece of a special 6-value stamp issue, ‘Six decades of Royal Portraits’ featuring the finest painted portraits of the Queen from the last sixty years.
A world-first for Royal Mail
Celebrated portrait artist Nicky Philipps was chosen for Royal Mail’s first ever commission after consultation with the National Portrait Gallery.
This isn’t the first time the artist has painted Royalty – in 2010, Nicky painted the first ever double portrait of Princes William and Harry. She also painted the Duchess of Cambridge last year. The new portrait, featuring the Queen in her Garter robes, was painted over three sittings at Buckingham Palace during the autumn of 2012.
Six of the best
The 1st class stamp featuring the new portrait of the Queen will be issued, along with five other Coronation Anniversary painted portrait stamps, on 30th May to mark this year’s 60th anniversary of her Coronation.
2nd class stamp
Terence Cuneo was the official artist for the Queen’s Coronation in 1953. It proved to be a highlight of his career, bringing his work to the forefront of the public’s attention. The Queen is wearing the Imperial State Crown in this portrait.
One of two life-size portraits of the Queen by Andrew Festing painted in 1999 for the Royal Hospital in Chelsea where it still hangs today. It depicts the Queen wearing robes for the State Opening of Parliament and the Diadem Crown.
This romantic portrayal of the young Elizabeth taken in 1956 earned Italian portrait and fresco painter Pietro Annigoni huge international acclaim on its release. It remains arguably the most iconic portrait of the Queen’s reign.
Taken from the 8ft tall ceremonial portrait by Sergei Pavlenko in 2000 depicting the Queen in her Garter robes. The portrait was personally unveiled by the Queen herself and is reported to be her favourite since the Coronation.
This 1992 painting by Richard Stone involved seven one-hour sittings with the Queen at Buckingham Palace. Unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery in 1992 to mark 40 years since her accession, it currently hangs in the Town Hall of the artist’s home town of Colchester.