The Royal Mint today (11th October) have launched the commemorative crown which celebrates the 60th year of reign, or the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, which will occur from the 6th February 2012. The “Two Portraits” coin is the first of it’s kind, as no other coin of the realm has ever carried separate portraits of the reigning Monarch.
Designed by Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS, the coin celebrates a remarkable royal milestone. The use of the two portraits encapsulate the Queen’s 60 years on the throne which began in 1952, a regal achievement matched only by the reign of Queen Victoria, the Queen’s great-great grandmother who reigned from 1837 to 1901.
The obverse of this unique coin depicts the first of the new portraits which is a contemporary head and shoulders image of Her Majesty facing right and dressed in formal Garter Robes, captured with gravitas and stately bearing. The legend “ELIZABETH II D: G: REG: F: D: FIVE POUNDS” is seen surrounding the portrait. The reverse portrait is borrowed from the queen’s very first set of circulation coinage struck in 1953. Sculpted by Mary Gillick, the young monarch was classically depicted, wearing a laurel crown. Underneath the shoulders of the Queen is a sprig of laurel. Along the portrait to the right, is the text in Latin which reads” DIRIGE DEUS GRESSUS MEOS” (May God Guide My Steps) To the left of the portrait, the year “2012”.
Combined, the “Two Portraits” coin tells a celebratory story of a rich, historical reign, from the fresh and optimistic beginning of a new Elizabethan era to the gravitas of an assured and dignified Head of State, 60 years on. Mr Rank-Broadley’s contemporary obverse design was inspired by the bronze sculpture of Queen Elizabeth II he made in 2009, which is situated in the Supreme Court. The use of foliage on the reverse of the new coin is a pleasing link to the Diamond Jubilee medal of Queen Victoria, the only other British monarch to achieve her Diamond Jubilee. The Latin words Dirige Deus Gressus Meos – May God Guide My Steps again makes reference to Queen Victoria as they appeared on the Una and the Lion coin of 1839 which was the first coin to carry Queen Victoria’s portrait.
The official UK £5 cupro-nickel coin to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee is available now from the Royal Mint’s website at: www.royalmint.com
The precious metal coins will be available in Silver Proof, Silver Piedfort, Gold Plated Silver, Gold and Platinum from January 2012.