New Military Coins from The Royal Mint
New Military Coins from The Royal Mint

Coronations and Commemorations

Collect · Royalty


Coronations are steeped in tradition, seeing monarchs make promises to God and the people that they serve. For most, a historic moment like this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to come together and celebrate the start of a new era. The Royal Mint has a long history of producing coronation medals. The tradition of making such medals dates back to the reign of Edward VI.


Even though coins are more prominently associated with The Royal Mint, the main commemorative item celebrating occasions like coronations are medals. In fact, we first produced a commemorative coin for a coronation in 1953, in celebration of the coronation of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

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In the past, commemorative coronation medals were distributed to the public, although this was not the case during reigns that occurred more recently. It is thought that the first coronation medals to be distributed were those produced for James I, but it is worth noting that these particular medals wouldn’t have been made available to the general public.

Historically, gold coronation medals were reserved for prestigious people such as courtiers, peers and privy councillors, whilst less significant royal servants and courtiers would have received silver medals distributed by the Lord Chamberlain. In today’s society, individuals would receive these medals in person, whereas previously the distribution of coronation medals occurred rather differently.

As detailed in British Official Medals for Coronation and Jubilees by Henry Wollaston, coronation medals were originally thrown amongst crowds inside Westminster Abbey, leaving attendants to scramble along the ground to try to obtain a memento of the important event. An edition of The Observer issued during the reign of William IV details:


‘The King’s Almoner was throwing silver medals amongst the crowd. This gave occasion to an extremely ludicrous scene – officers covered with stars, and we doubt not with scars, were to be seen struggling and scrambling with diplomatists and pages and courtiers and some rolling on the earth in the melee.’


Another newspaper described a similar scene during the coronation of Queen Victoria:


‘Meanwhile, the Earl of Surrey, as Treasurer of the Queen’s household, threw about among the choirs and lower galleries the Coronation medals; which caused more amusement than accorded with the dignified scene across the theatre. In the scramble for the pieces of silver, venerable judges, grave privy councillors, portly alderman, Knights of the Bath, and general officers alike took part: the Guardsmen were very active in diving among the benches for these treasures, and two might be seen struggling for one medal; a few swords were snapped, and all rank was forgotten in the turbulent demonstration of loyalty.’


Interestingly, some of the great engravers that worked at The Royal Mint played their part in commemorating monarchs through coronation medals. Benedetto Pistrucci worked on the official portraits of George IV and Queen Victoria, and his rival William Wyon RA worked on the portrait of William IV.

It wasn’t until the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II that we struck a commemorative coin in honour of a coronation. The £5 ‘crown’ coin released in honour of the occasion features an equestrian portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse, whilst the reverse features a design by Cecil Thomas and Edgar Fuller. The coin’s reverse design also featured on the UK 50p coin released last year in poignant tribute to the life and legacy of Queen Elizabeth II following her sad passing in September 2022.

In commemoration of the coronation of His Majesty King Charles III, we are releasing a coronation coin collection. Commemorating His Majesty The King’s historic coronation, the collection features three new reverse designs, which are available across a range of commemorative coins, struck in a number of editions and sizes. The collection also features a coronation medal that is exclusively available from The Royal Mint Experience.




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