Portraits of a Queen – which is Britain’s favourite?

With the new portrait of Queen Elizabeth II due to be revealed on Monday, I thought I’d revisit a blog I posted in 2013, which saw the 60th anniversary of the Queen on our coinage.

Back then you voted Mary Gillick’s 1953 portrait of the Queen the best, by a very slim margin. Will the new portrait become the nation’s favourite? Let’s take a look at the previous designs…

The first Queen Elizabeth II coins were struck in 1953 and since then four different effigies adorned our coins.

gillick - Portraits of a Queen – which is Britain's favourite?

1953 – 1967: Mary Gillick

The first coins of Queen Elizabeth’s reign bore Mary Gillick’s portrait of the young Queen, engraved especially for the new coins.

Her uncrowned portrait of the Queen is still used on the Maundy Money distributed each year by Her Majesty.

machin - Portraits of a Queen – which is Britain's favourite?1968 – 1984: Arnold Machin RA

With the upcoming decimilisation, it was decided to refresh the Queen’s portrait with Arnold Machin’s new sculpture of the Queen. Commissioned in 1964, it first appeared in 1968 on the new 5p and 10p coins.  A version of the design with tiara was also introduced on stamps in 1967 and remains to this day.

maklouf - Portraits of a Queen – which is Britain's favourite?

1985 – 1997: Raphael Maklouf

In creating his new effigy of Her Majesty, Raphael Maklouf aimed “to create a symbol, regal and ageless”.

His “couped” portrait depicts Queen Elizabeth II wearing the royal diadem favoured by her on the way to and from the State Opening of Parliament.

irb - Portraits of a Queen – which is Britain's favourite?1998 – current: Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS

The current Queen’s head on our coinage was designed in 1997 by Ian Rank-Broadley. Created to fill the full circle of the coin, its larger size was a deliberate response to the smaller 5p and 10p coins in circulation. A noticeably more mature portrayal of Her Majesty, Rank-Broadley aimed to show the Queen with “poise and bearing”.

If you’re interested…

cc 2015 pack - Portraits of a Queen – which is Britain's favourite?

Collect all 8 of the ‘new portrait’ coins when you find them in your change with The Queen’s New Portrait Coin Collecting Pack. Available now for just £3.99 (+p&p).

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As we bid farewell to a familiar face…

The Royal Mint have announced that on 2nd March, the effigy of Her Majesty the Queen on UK coinage will be replaced with a brand new fifth portrait.  While we wait for the new portrait to be revealed, here’s a little more detail about the history of the current portrait that has featured on our coinage for the past 17 years…

In 1997 the Royal Mint held a competition to design the obverse of the Golden Wedding Crown.  The standard of entries for the joint portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip was so high that it was decided it was time to explore the possibility of replacing the existing portrait by Raphael Maklouf.  The winning portrait was designed by Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS and introduced in 1998.

Designed to fill the full circle of the coin, its larger size was a delist 2015 churchill c2a35 bu coin obverse - As we bid farewell to a familiar face…berate response to the smaller coins that had been introduced into circulation.  Compared to its predecessor, the portrait is noticeably more mature.  Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS felt that there was ‘no need to disguise the matureness of the Queen’s years. There is no need to flatter her.  She is a 70-year-old woman with poise and bearing’.

Since then he has designed the 2000 Queen Mother Centennial Crown, 2002 Golden Jubilee Crown, and the conjoined portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip on the 2007 Crown.  His effigy of Her Majesty has been used on all circulating British coins since 1998.

Secure the last set of UK coins to feature the current portrait of the Queen

imagegen 5 - As we bid farewell to a familiar face…Struck by the Royal Mint to a superior Brilliant Uncirculated finish, the set features the eight 2015 UK definitive coins from the 1p to the £2, brought together with the flagship 2015 1oz pure Silver Britannia coin.  Just 495 complete Queen’s Fourth Portrait Specimen Sets have been released.

Presented in a luxury wooden Presentation Case and complete with its Certificate of Authenticity, this really is the ultimate way to bid farewell to a familiar face.