The Royal Mint Celebrates 450th Anniversary of Accession of Queen Elizabeth I

17 Jun 2008

The Royal Mint has unveiled a striking new design for a £5 crown minted especially to mark the 450th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth I's accession to the throne. Featuring a stunning portrait of one of history's greatest monarchs, this coin is certain to be sought after by collectors, especially as only a limited number will be available: 1,500 gold Proof crowns and 20,000 silver Proof crowns.

The coin's designer, the renowned silversmith, Rod Kelly, has created a bold and highly decorative design which depicts Queen Elizabeth I, set within a symbolic Mandorla or 'almond like shape'. The Mandorla is often used in traditional Christian art to frame the figures of Christ or the Virgin Mary, while the almond seed is associated with divine virgin birth.

Other beautifully rendered details such as the roses, the leaf pattern and the lettering also allude to Queen Elizabeth I's reign.The leaf design is deliberately reminiscent of the carvings made by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, while he was awaiting execution in the Tower of London, and the Roman numerals mark the year of the Queen's accession 1558, and 2008 as the anniversary year.In addition, the inscription around the edge of the coin, 'I HAVE REIGNED WITH YOUR LOVE',is taken from Queen Elizabeth I's Golden Speech delivered to her last Parliament on 30 November 1601.

Rod Kelly said: 'The portrait is a combination of several portraits, with the crown signifying a monarch, and the ruff, the dress and the face as painted by George Gower in 1588. The design encapsulates several of the important points established during Elizabeth's reign.'

Dave Knight, Marketing Director of The Royal Mint said, 'The Elizabeth I Anniversary crown is a great memento that not only honours one of the most influential British monarchs, but also celebrates the start of one of the most remarkable periods in our country's history. We are delighted with Rod Kelly's design, which truly captures the essence of this extraordinary figure and her sovereignty.'

The accession of Queen Elizabeth I was a key moment in history, marking the start of a 45-year reign, considered to be one of the most successful and glorious in English history.Deemed the Golden Age, it was a period when the arts and literature flourished, trade and industry thrived, and many successful voyages and discoveries were made by men like Francis Drake, Walter Raleigh and Humphrey Gilbert.Accession Day or Queen's Day was celebrated annually at Queen Elizabeth I's court with a series of elaborate festivals and continued to be a national holiday in England for 200 years.

The 2008 Queen Elizabeth I £5 Crownis available in gold at £925.00 with a limited issue of 1,500,in silver at £39.95 with a limited issue of 20,000, and in base metal as a £2 Brilliant Uncirculated coin at £9.95, with a limited issue of 500,000.The obverse of the coin, common to all United Kingdom coinage,bears the portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS.

For further information or to purchase your coin, please call 0845 60 88 222 or visit www.royalmint.com/Elizabeth

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For media enquiries, please contact the Royal Mint Press Office on 01179227799

-The Royal Mint has a history dating back over 1000 years.By the late thirteenth century the organisation was based in the Tower of London, and remained there for over 500 years. In 1810 the Royal Mint moved out of the Tower to premises on London's Tower Hill.In 1967 the building of a new Mint began on its current site in Llantrisant, South Wales.

-There were estimated to be more than 27.5 billion United Kingdom coins in circulation at 31 March 2007, with a total face value of more than £3.5 billion - all manufactured by the Royal Mint.

-A total of 1.6 billion United Kingdom coins were issued during 2006-07.

-Of the higher denomination coins, it is the 20p piece that is most in demand, with more than 2.3 billion now in circulation.