Marking the Jubilee
Volume 39, Number 2, February 2002
Most readers cannot have failed to notice that this year – indeed this very month – marks the 50th anniversary of Her Majesty the Queen’s accession to the throne and whilst the role of the Monarchy has changed somewhat in the last 25 years and we are therefore unlikely to see the same scale of celebrations as for the Silver Jubilee, there are many commemorations of this Historic year planned – not least in the numismatic world. Last month’s COIN NEWS featured the launch of the UK’s £5 Jubilee crown and also made mention of the proposed 24 coin set and the proposed all gold “circulating” coin set. In addition to these we now know that the Golden Jubilee Medal is to be presented to the Emergency services as well as the armed services vastly increasing the numbers available, and that a variety of other Mints are proposing commemorative pieces - both official “coinage” issues and unofficial medallions. There is also to be an “Official Celebration Medal” struck by the Royal Mint that features images that reflect both the formal and informal sides of the Queen’s public life, a medal somewhat different from other such pieces in that it gives purchasers the option of individual customisation by using either the traditional image of the Queen, as modelled by James Butler, or the more relaxed image as modelled by Michael Noakes – as the Obverse whilst choosing a reverse unique to them, be it a company logo, family shield or school crest. In 1887 for Queen Victoria’s golden Jubilee and again for her Diamond Jubilee 10 years later, towns and organisations across the land struck medals and medallions in celebration of the events and whilst certain towns and cities are planning the same this year and the Royal Mint or any private Mint would happily strike such a piece should they be approached, no-one is suggesting that the scale will be the same, and indeed it is far less likely in the 21st Century than the 19th that companies or organisations will have any such keepsake commissioned, This medal may, however, go some way to ensuring that more people than first thought have a limited edition and personal memento of the occasion - and with a minimum order of just ten medals this idea could well produce some interesting rarities for the collectors of the future! Unfortunately such items as the latter are often seen by “purist” numismatists as being too fringe to be included in their collections and as such are often overlooked if not frowned upon however the same criticism cannot be levelled at the other numismatic commemorative piece being struck for this momentous year, a piece that even the most die hard of the purists cannot ignore and one that is in keeping with enough tradition to ensure that all collectors, bar perhaps those interested only in Ancient, Hammered or foreign coinage, will want to own. It is of course the new “one-off” design for the Gold Sovereign, a design that harkens back to the glory days of Empire with a shield motif truly reminiscent of its Georgian and Victorian counterparts. It is natural and fitting that in this year, only the third Golden Jubilee of a monarch Great Britain has ever seen, that the coin that is so intrinsically linked with Royalty that it shares its name with the ruler, should be thus re-modelled with a striking image that manages to capture both the history upon which our monarchy is based and the essence of that monarchy in the twenty-first century. In this country we have a proud tradition of celebrating such events as this Jubilee year on our coinage and this new sovereign continues that admirably
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