The Queen’s fifth coin portrait – the first to be designed by a Royal Mint engraver in over 100 years
This change of royal portrait will make 2015 a vintage year for UK coins, and it will be hugely exciting for us all to see the new design appear on the coins we use every day” – Adam Lawrence, Chief Executive of The Royal Mint.
Royal images have guaranteed the value of the pound, or sestertius, in your pocket for millennia. The first coins appeared in ancient Lydia and bore the image of a lion, a Lydian royal symbol. Soon Darius, ruler of the Persian empire, was portrayed on his 5th century BC coins as an archer. The royal portrait coin was born.
The current depiction of the Queen, designed by Ian Rank-Broadley, has been in circulation for 16 years.
The Rank-Broadley portrait came about after the Royal Mint held a competition to design the obverse of the 1997 Golden Wedding crown – a coin issued to celebrate the Queen and Prince Philip’s 50th wedding anniversary.
Traditionally, the Queen always faces to the right and is in profile, and this special fifth portrait of her facing left is timely as from September she will surpass Queen Victoria as the longest reigning monarch in British history.