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Meet the Maker of the George Michael Coin

One of the bestselling musicians of all time, George Michael was a truly groundbreaking singer, songwriter and producer. He first found fame in the 1980s alongside Andrew Ridgeley as part of pop duo WHAM! before embarking on a globally successful solo career.

Decades after their initial release, many of his hits still resonate with audiences today, with WHAM!’s ‘Last Christmas’ along with solo releases ‘Faith’ and ‘Careless Whisper’ regularly voted as some of the most popular songs of all time.

His passing on Christmas Day in 2016 caused an outpouring of grief around the world and he is missed by millions of devoted fans. In 2023, George Michael’s status as a pop superstar was cemented when he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Now, as part of our Music Legends collection, we honour George Michael on a UK coin for the first time. The coin features an original reverse design by acclaimed sculptor and artist Sandra Deiana, which takes inspiration from the iconic music video for George Michael’s single ‘Faith’. We spoke to Sandra Deiana to find out more about the design.


How did it feel when you found out that your design had been chosen to feature on the coin?

“When I heard that my design had been chosen to appear on the George Michael coin, I was overcome with emotion. It was a combination of joy, pride and gratitude. I had been following the series of coins dedicated to British musicians for a long time and having the opportunity to help commemorate such an extraordinary figure in the history of music was a dream come true. I also felt a great responsibility to appropriately represent George Michael’s legacy through my work.”

Are you a George Michael fan? Do you have a favourite George Michael song?

“I can’t call myself a passionate George Michael fan, but I remember my parents listening to his music, along with that of artists like David Bowie and Elton John. His music definitely had an impact on my life and my perception of pop music. Among his many amazing songs, ‘Careless Whisper’ and ‘Faith’ are the ones that touched me the most. His voice and compositional talent are simply extraordinary.”

How did you approach the initial design?

“I approached the initial project with great respect and attention. The first phase was dedicated to detailed research into the life and career of George Michael. I studied his artistic evolution, the influences he underwent and his impact on popular culture. This helped me outline design guidelines and better understand who George Michael was beyond his music.”

What research did you do when working on the design?

“Research has been a crucial element in my creative process. I examined photographs, interviews and archival materials relating to George Michael. I tried to capture his expression, his personality and the iconic image of him in my design. Every detail had to accurately reflect his style and his person.”

Was there anything you knew that you wanted to include in the design from the beginning?

“From the beginning of the project, I was clear about certain elements that I wanted to incorporate into the design. I wanted a detailed portrait of George Michael that captured his piercing gaze and charismatic expression, and I was particularly thinking of his iconic sunglasses. I also wanted to include symbolic elements related to his music and his career, such as his guitar.”

Could you talk to us through any iterations that led you to the final design?

“During the creative process, I worked on several iterations of the design, trying to perfect every detail. At a certain point I thought it would be great to be able to insert his music, albeit in a two-dimensional way. Thus, through the use of software that allows you to obtain a graphic rendering of the sound waves of a musical piece, I was able to represent the refrain from ‘Faith’ through vertical lines. What you see in the design is truly a piece of George Michael’s song.”

How was the overall experience designing a coin for such an iconic person?

“The overall experience of designing a coin for such an iconic person was extraordinary and unforgettable. George Michael was an exceptional artist who influenced generations with his music and his unique style. Working on this project allowed me to delve into his life and career in much greater detail, making me even more aware of his impact on popular culture. It was an honour to help preserve his memory through my design, and it was an enriching experience for me personally and professionally.”

What are your thoughts on the finished product?

“I am extremely happy with the finished design. I believe the final design captures the essence of George Michael and his importance in music history. Every detail, from the features of his face to the inclusion of symbolic elements, was carefully thought out and crafted with dedication. I sincerely hope that the public will appreciate this coin from a numismatic perspective, but also as a loving tribute to an extraordinary artist.”




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® Under license from George Michael Entertainment.

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