FOR many of us it is impossible to remember a time when another face graced our money and stamps. Indeed, never before have all the coins in circulation carried the portrait of the same monarch, Queen Elizabeth.
Now the Royal Mint has unveiled a special design depicting the Queen through her reign as she becomes the longest-serving monarch in British history. The commemorative £20 silver coin shows the Queen’s journey through the five portraits of her that have appeared on UK coins.
The Queen will become the longest-reigning monarch in British history on 9 September, surpassing Queen Victoria’s 63 years and seven months.
Designed by Stephen Taylor, the design shows the Queen all the way from her coronation to the present day.
Mr Taylor said: “I wanted to convey how Queen Elizabeth has matured on the face of a coin, just like Queen Victoria did.
“Combining the five portraits was a challenge, as they are all quite different in their composition.
“The font I used for the inscription is a flared serif often used on early coinage. Mary Gillick used something similar on her portrait of Her Majesty.”
The Royal Mint confirmed that never before had all coins in circulation – an estimated 28.9 billion – carried the portrait of the same monarch.
Shane Bissett, the Mint’s director of Commemorative Coin and Medals, said: “This historic event is not only a memorable one for the nation, but a significant one for the Royal Mint, maker of coins to the kings and queens of Britain for over 1,000 years.
“Never before have all coins in circulation carried the portrait of the same monarch, and for many, the Queen will be the only British monarch they have known.
“Except for unofficial souvenirs struck for Queen Victoria in 1897, there has never been an official coin produced to mark a monarch becoming the longest reigning king or queen, which makes this coin even more distinctive.”
The Royal Mint said 150,000 of the commemorative coins would be produced.
There were almost 30 billion UK coins in circulation at 31 March 2014, with a total face value of more than £4bn.