The Royal Mint celebrates with the nation as Her Majesty The Queen becomes the longest reigning monarch
01 Sep 2015
On Wednesday 9 September 2015, The Royal Mint will celebrate with the nation the moment when Her Majesty The Queen becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history. The anniversary surpasses the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria more than a century ago.
To mark this ‘once in a lifetime’ occasion, The Royal Mint will unveil a £20 for £20 fine silver face value coin, as part of a range of commemorative coins, reflecting The Queen’s journey from her coronation, through decades of social change, to the position she holds today - as a stateswoman respected across the world.
The £20 fine silver face value coin was designed by Stephen Taylor who is a member of The Royal Mint’s creative design team, and is his first design to appear on a United Kingdom coin.
Stephen’s design includes the five different portraits of The Queen which have appeared on United Kingdom circulating coins and said: “I wanted my design to convey how Queen Elizabeth II has matured on the face of a coin, just like Queen Victoria did. Combining the five portraits was a challenge, as they are all quite different in their composition: how they’re couped, their size, the crown worn and so on. The font I used for the inscription is a flared serif often used on early coinage. Mary Gillick used something similar on her portrait of Her Majesty.
“Working for The Royal Mint you develop a love for coins and for the artistry and craftsmanship that goes into creating a coin. It’s moving to think that the coin will be there forever, my mark in history. It’s a nice thing to have in your life. My children are really excited and proud that I’ve designed a coin for the United Kingdom.”
Stephen Taylor’s Longest Reigning Monarch design has been selected to feature on the reverse of the £20 fine silver face value coin, whilst the fifth effigy portrait of The Queen launched earlier this year by Royal Mint Engraver Jody Clark can be seen on the obverse - the work of two Royal Mint designers together.
With his ‘fifth portrait’ effigy of Her Majesty The Queen, Jody has successfully captured The Queen in a realistic yet gentle portrait that shares both modern and traditional elements, recognising the effigies that have gone before. Jody was honoured that his portrait was selected: “I liked all four of the previous portraits, each one strong in its own way. I hope that I’ve done The Queen justice and captured her as I intended, in a fitting representation.
Shane Bissett, The Royal Mint’s Director of Commemorative Coin and Medals said, “This historic event is not only a memorable one for the nation, but a significant one for The Royal Mint, maker of coins to the kings and queens of Britain for over 1,000 years. Never before have all coins in circulation carried the portrait of the same monarch, and for many, The Queen will be the only British monarch we have known.
“Except for unofficial souvenirs struck for Queen Victoria in 1897, there has never been an official coin produced to mark a monarch becoming the longest reigning king or queen in this country, which makes The Royal Mint’s Longest Reigning Monarch Collection even more distinctive.”