The fifth portrait of The Queen is unveiled

After a long wait, we are pleased to announce that the eagerly-anticipated fifth portrait of Her Majesty The Queen has been unveiled today.

A 2015 £1 coin bearing the fifth definitive coinage portrait of Her Majesty The queen

A 2015 £1 coin bearing the fifth definitive coin portrait of Her Majesty The Queen

The portrait was unveiled this morning, in front of a packed crowd at the National Portrait Gallery in London. It was the first chance to see the fifth definitive coinage portrait of The Queen which will begin to grace all UK circulating coins made after today. However, it is unlikely that we will find them in our change until later this year – as all coins struck before today will make their way into circulation first.

In November 2014 – as the 2015 coin designs were unveiled – it was also revealed that the coinage portrait of The Queen would be changing. Then, on 27 January 2015 – the 50th anniversary of the death of the designer of the first portrait of The Queen, Mary Gillick – it was announced that the grand reveal would take place today, 2 March 2015.

With the unveiling of the portrait came the unveiling of its creator. For the first time in over 100 years it is a Royal Mint engraver who has created the royal coinage portrait. Jody Clark, designer of the 2014 Britannia, was today confirmed as the artist responsible for the fifth portrait – after his design was selected from a number of anonymous submissions.

Jody Clark - Royal Mint Engraver and creator of the fifth definitive coin portrait of Her Majesty The Queen

Jody Clark – Royal Mint Engraver and creator of the Fifth definitive coinage portrait of Her Majesty The Queen

Initial sketch of the royal portrait by Jody Clark

Initial sketch of the Fifth Royal Portrait by Jody Clark

There are some noticeable changes to The Queen’s image in the new portrait by Jody Clark. Her Majesty is seen wearing the Royal Diamond Diadem crown worn for her Coronation and earrings, similar to those in the portrait by Raphael Maklouf, are included. The Inscription ELIZABETH II – DEI – GRA –REGINA – FID – DEF hasn’t changed, however its position has, encompassing the effigy entirely. The familiar I.R.B (Ian Rank-Broadley) is replaced by the J.C of Jody Clark.

The Fourth Portrait by Ian Rank-BroadleyThe Fifth Portrait by Jody Clark

A feature that is unique to this portrait of The Queen, is that Jody Clark created it entirely digitally. Using computer aided design software, he was able to take his initial sketches and transform them into the low-relief model required for coinage.

Jody Clark at work on the Fifth Portrait

Jody Clark at work on the Fifth Portrait

Be one of the first to own coins featuring the fifth portrait of The Queen. Sets featuring the new portrait are now available on royalmint.com.

Britannia returns to circulating coins!

We are delighted to announce that Britannia is to return to the circulating coinage, on the new definitive £2 – she hasn’t been struck on circulating coins since 2008!

uku21830 britannia £2 bu rev

The new depiction of Britannia will replace Bruce Rushin’s ‘History of Technological Achievement’ design that has been a constant feature on the £2 coin since its first issue in 1997.

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Chinese New Year 2015: Year Of The Sheep

This year, Chinese New Year falls on 19 February. It will mark the end of the Year of the Horse and the 2015 Year of the Sheep will begin – you may also see it referred to as the Year of the Goat and the Year of the Ram, as the Chinese symbol ‘yang’ is generic for these animals. More specifically, 2015 is the Year of the Green Wood Sheep. Like me, you may well be wondering what that means?

Sheep-symbol

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A Badge For a Baronet

Early in 2013 The Royal Mint received an order for a baronet’s badge from Sir Michael Nairn, the 4th baronet of the Nairn family, a well-known name in the flooring industry, based in Kirkcaldy, Scotland. Sir Michael and his two sons, Andrew and Alex, belong to the prestigious Royal Company of Archers that functions as the sovereign’s ‘Body Guard in Scotland’. All three were invited to attend a Royal Garden Party in Edinburgh in July 2013.

Being aware of his entitlement to wear a baronet’s badge, Sir Michael naturally wished to wear it for this very special occasion. So he contacted the Medals department of The Royal Mint, requesting - ‘could one be made in time’? That immediately set in motion craftsmanship and skills that, although infrequently called upon, are still available here.

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Numismatic Nostalgia: The 25p four coin set

The Royal Mint has released a new, nostalgic commemorative coin set which unites four 25p decimal crowns. Coins have long played an important part in celebrating special events throughout the history of the nation and the crowns are no exception.

Commemorative crowns, as we know them today, were issued from 1935 for the celebration of George V’s Silver Jubilee. Originally five-shilling coins, the denomination changed with decimalisation in 1971 to twenty-five new pence. Only four crown pieces were released with this 25p denomination, before the crown was re-valued in 1990 to five pounds. Covering almost a decade, the 25p coins in this appealing set were issued in 1972, 1977, 1980 and 1981 to celebrate an anniversary, a Jubilee, a landmark birthday and a royal wedding.

The British Decimal Twenty-Five Pence 4 Coin set. £27.00 http://www.royalmint.com/shop/h/his254s

The British Decimal Twenty-Five Pence 4 Coin set – £27.00 – Click here to purchase

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Odd Change. How odd can it be?

‘Odd change’, meaning a handful of ‘odd coins’ or coins that ‘break the mould’, doesn’t really apply to coins made at The Royal Mint. But, when thinking about the phrase, we pondered on current and historic coins that could be considered ‘odd’ in some way – both worldwide and in the UK – and the variety we’ve uncovered is amazing.

We’ve found coins that are: oval, scalloped-edged, triangular, square, rectangular, pentagonal and hexagonal, polygon-shaped and even guitar-shaped. There are coins with colour; of weird material; even coins that glow! Then there are the odd designs – but which are the strangest ones? When does a coin stop being a coin? And, if it’s not the shape, what makes a coin a coin? Here’s just a few that we’ve found to get you started…

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Mary Gillick – Sculptor of a Royal Coin Portrait

In 2015, the year when the fifth definitive coin portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will be revealed, it is poignant to note that 27 January marks the 50th anniversary of the death of the artist entrusted to create Her Majesty’s first coin portrait in 1952. Mary Gillick, already a sculptor of note at that momentous time, sadly passed away 13 years later, in 1965. So, who was this lady, whose work adorned the UK coins in our hands every day from 1953 to 1967?

Sculptor Mary Gillick with the plaster of her design for HM Queen Elizabeth II's first definitive coin portrait.  Image held at the Royal Mint Museum

Sculptor Mary Gillick with the plaster of her design for HM Queen Elizabeth II’s first definitive coin portrait. Image held at the Royal Mint Museum

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