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British Monarchs – George I Behind the Design

Behind the Design

The British Monarchs Collection, which celebrates some of Britain’s most influential kings and queens, continues with a coin exploring the life and coinage of George I. Each coin in the collection features a portrait of a past monarch, remastered from an original portrait that would have circulated on the coinage of their reign.

The portrait of George I that appears on the latest coin in the collection was the creation of the German-born engraver John Croker (1670-1741). Well-educated and creative, Croker was taken on by his godfather as an apprentice goldsmith in Dresden, where he worked on many medals and developed a passion for engraving. His talents brought him to England, where he anglicised his birth name, Johann Crocker, and became a master goldsmith of a London jeweller.

Croker’s work was described as exceptional and the diligent engraver’s reputation grew quickly. In 1697, Croker became The Royal Mint’s Assistant Engraver but worked closely with the Chief Engraver, eventually taking up that role in 1705. Croker’s output during his career was prolific; he worked on the medals and coinage of George I, as well as those of the king’s predecessors, William III and Queen Anne, and his successor, George II.

When John Croker died at the age of 71, minting circles held him in high esteem, as detailed in an article in the Numismatic Chronicle from 1853:

“He left behind him the reputation of an honest man, a good Christian, and a faithful and diligent servant of the crown of England.”

Today, past chief engravers continue to inspire The Royal Mint’s team of expert engravers and designers who share the same passion for exceptional design. This is embodied in our British Monarchs Collection, in which previous engravers’ designs are meticulously remastered using a combination of time-honoured artistry and modern methods. Product Designer Laura Clancy explains the process.

“Working on The British Monarchs Collection is a real privilege; this project provides a rare and wonderful opportunity for modern coin designers to learn about the history of coin design and reflect that in our work today.

“For this series we work with rare, historic coins and create new coins inspired by them. It is fascinating to learn how coins were made through the years, the tools and technology that would have been available, and how this is reflected in a coin. Each monarch’s coins reflect the time when they were originally made.

“We select original coins or tools, then 3D scan them to create a digital model. We work on the model to create the best version of the original coin we can. The aim is not to modernise but sympathise with the original. So, we would remove scratches or dents that were made during the lifecycle of the coin but not remove the character of the original minting process, such as fishtailed lettering, irregular beading, slight doubling from the striking. There is a real balance to create the best version of the coin that could have been made at the time, whilst using modern minting processes.”

For more information about George I’s coinage, visit the British Monarchs section of our website.

British Monarchs

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