Since 1952, Her Majesty The Queen has achieved a plethora of personal and royal milestones. The Royal Mint has shared in this special journey by commemorating and celebrating many of these events. Now, for 2022, as Britain’s longest-reigning monarch celebrates a historic Platinum Jubilee, we strike a special Sovereign befitting of the momentous occasion.
The Sovereign – Made for Monarchs
In 1489, Henry VII ordered a ‘new money of gold’ that would serve to symbolise the might of the Tudor dynasty. That large gold coin was The Sovereign and it has since evolved to become one of the world’s most distinctive and recognisable coins. More than 500 years since its inception, the ‘chief coin of the world’ still shares a close relationship with the Crown.
The 2022 edition of The Sovereign marks the remarkable Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II and features a rare change in reverse design. Benedetto Pistrucci’s iconic St George and the dragon design, which was created in 1817, steps aside for a design by the heraldic artist Timothy Noad. Pistrucci’s design has consistently featured on The Sovereign since 1871 and has only been replaced a handful of times, most notably for historic events such as Her Majesty’s jubilees.
The Golden Jubilee Sovereign
“I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you – here in Guildhall, those of you waiting in the Mall and the streets of London, and all those up and down this country and throughout the Commonwealth, who may be watching this on television. Thank you all for your enthusiasm to mark and celebrate these past fifty years.”
Queen Elizabeth II
Those were the words Her Majesty spoke during a speech she made during a lunch at Guildhall, London, on 4 June 2002. The celebrations for her Golden Jubilee took place during May and June of that year and saw people all over the nation holding street parties and events to celebrate the historic occasion. The 50th year of Her Majesty’s reign was also honoured on a global scale – from the Antarctic, where a group of 20 British scientists celebrated at a temperature of -20 degrees centigrade, to New York City, where the Empire State Building shone purple and gold on the evening of 4 June to mark the event.
The Royal Mint produced a special Sovereign to honour the Golden Jubilee, which featured a new reverse design created by Timothy Noad, the designer behind the reverse design for the Platinum Jubilee. Featuring the shield of the Royal Coat of Arms, the design of the 2002 Sovereign has similarities to a reverse design that was struck in 1838 during Queen Victoria’s reign.
The Diamond Jubilee Sovereign
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was marked with an array of celebrations, including a ‘Big Lunch’ initiative, which encouraged people all over the nation to share a special lunch with their neighbours and friends. That weekend, The Queen also visited the Epsom Derby and up to 1,000 boats assembled on the Thames from across the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and around the world for the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. A concert organised by Take That star Gary Barlow, which featured performers such as will.i.am, Stevie Wonder, Grace Jones and Kylie Minogue, took place in view of Buckingham Palace on The Mall. In the aftermath of the concert, The Queen lit the National Beacon, which was part of a network of 2,012 beacons throughout the UK, Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the Commonwealth that were each lit in sequence by individuals and communities to mark the occasion.
The Royal Mint honoured Her Majesty’s milestone by commissioning a new St George and the dragon reverse for the 2012 Sovereign. A competition was launched to find this new design and the winning entry that was chosen by The Royal Mint Advisory Committee was created by the British sculptor Paul Day.
The Platinum Jubilee Sovereign
The concept of the jubilee stems back to biblical times, although in the modern era we associate jubilee celebrations with the Royal Family to mark a significant milestone. The year 2022 will see the most significant milestone yet, something which we likely won’t see again for centuries, as Her Majesty welcomes her Platinum Jubilee.
A 70-year reign is a remarkable achievement deserving of distinct commemoration which is why, as with previous jubilees, we have struck a special Sovereign for 2022. The reverse design for the coin features a reinterpretation of the Royal Coat of Arms, which was created by the esteemed heraldic artist Timothy Noad in what is his third reverse design for The Sovereign.