The Royal Australian Mint has released commemorative 50-cent silver proof and Brilliant Uncirculated coins which honour Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II one year after her passing. These coins celebrate the Queen’s seven decades of devotion and service, as well as the indelible mark she has left on Australian numismatics. In 1947, a young Princess Elizabeth delivered a notable speech that was broadcast around the world in celebration of her 21st birthday. In her own words, the young princess dedicated her life to the service of the Commonwealth:
I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.
These words would prove to be truly prophetic when, five years later, the 25-year-old wife and mother would ascend to the throne as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, starting a historic reign of over 70 years — the longest of any British monarch. Historically, coins bear witness to a monarch’s reign with their royal effigies appearing on the obverse. Her Late Majesty’s seven decades of service are appropriately recorded in terms of numismatics through her six effigies which have appeared on Australian coins beginning in 1953. These exquisite portraits are the focal point of the reverse design and, with this tribute, the Royal Australian Mint commemorates the momentous Second Elizabethan Era.
The reverse of these 12-sided coins depicts all six effigies that have been featured on the obverse side of Australia’s circulation and commemorative coinage beginning in 1953, with the Queen’s first likeness designed by British sculptor Mary Gillick. This portrait was retired in 1965 when Australia adopted a decimal system of currency one year later. The second effigy of the Queen was the work of Arnold Machin, which became one of the most familiar portraits of the Queen worldwide. In 1985, the Queen’s third effigy designed by sculptor Raphael Maklouf was featured on Australian coinage and was changed over in 1999 by another widely popular effigy created by British artist Ian Rank-Broadley. In 2000, a special commemorative 50-cent coin was released by the Royal Australian Mint to mark the Queen’s royal visit and featured a new portrait created by Australian artist Vladimir Gottwald. With a changeover to what has become known as the “Commonwealth obverse” created by British engraver Jody Clark in 2019, it would be the final image of Her Majesty before the unveiling of a new effigy for her successor, King Charles III. All six effigies are shown slightly overlapped and arched with the Queen’s royal cypher placed below. Above the portraits are branches of wattle and Lilly of the Valley. The commemorative text placed above the primary design reads HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II with her years of reign placed below, 1952 – 2022. The obverse side includes the memorial version of the Commonwealth effigy, which includes the Queen’s years of reign in the legend surrounding her likeness, 1952 – 2022. The year of issue 2023 is also shown in the legend and the denomination 50 CENTS is placed below.
Available from the 23rd November, the Brilliant Uncirculated cupro-nickel coins are encased in a coin-card format which includes illustrations and informative text. Each silver Proof coin is encapsulated and presented in a custom environment-friendly case accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. For additional information, please click here.