Volume 39, Number 9, September 2002
THE Royal Mint have unveiled the design for the crown which will be issued in commemoration of the life of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Apart from the Monarch no-one has ever been commemorated as the main subject on so many coins as this remarkable lady. The coin, a £5 38 millimeter diameter crown-sized piece is to be struck in cupro-nickel and issued for general circulation on September 22. But as we all know and have come to accept, the “crown” is no longer a circulating coin and most of them will vanish into sideboard drawers, cupboards and cabinets, along with the previous issues that commemorated her 80th, 90th and 100th birthdays and of course, the other pieces marking other Royal personalities and public events. However, the important point is that every member of the public will have the opportunity of owning a piece of history and of keeping a souvenir of a lovely person. We understand that the coins will also be available in special editions for collectors. There is a gold version which is to be severely limited to just 3,000 worldwide, priced at £555 each, and a sterling silver version of 25,000 pieces priced at £34.50. Without doubt, given the popularity of the Queen Mother, this small issue is certain to sell out in no time. In keeping with the Royal Mint’s previous practice a small quantity of the cupro-nickel coins will also be available in a specially-produced illustrated pack priced at £9.95. These coins will have been specially selected from the production run and should be literally FDC. The cu-ni coin is, naturally, to be made available at post offices and banks at its face value but, be warned these will not be in pristine condition as by the time they reach your hands they will have been handled many times and no doubt rubbed shoulders with their neighbours, giving them edge knocks, scratches and bag marks. If they are destined for the sideboard drawer as a simple souvenir of a special lady that is fine, but if they are to grace the collections of the future, I know which I would opt for! The coin carries the familiar effigy of Her Majesty the Queen by Ian Rank-Broadley on the obverse whilst the reverse carries a portrait of the Queen Mother by Avril Vaughan , the artist who designed the reverse portrait for the crown issued to commemorate the HM the Queen’s 70th birthday in 1996. The portrait, as can be seen on our front cover this month, shows the Queen Mother in her later years. Coins paying homage to the Queen Mother have been produced by a number of Commonwealth countries and many of them have chosen to depict her in early life. Australia was the first to depict her as a young woman, surrounded by the now famous rose that bears her name, “Elizabeth of Glamis”. Many of these coins are featured on our “New issues update” pages this month and hopefully we will be bringing news of other coins as they are announced. Whether you choose to collect all of the coins or just stick to the UK issue, whether you will collect all the different metals and finishes, whether you spend a fortune on amassing the whole series or simply decide to ferret away a couple in the sideboard drawer, you can rest assured that the theme is enduring and in years to come you will be able to look at them and have a personal reminder of the lady that was “everybody’s favourite grandmother”.
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