On Jun. 2, 1953, Queen Elizabeth II was crowned sovereign of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan and Ceylon at Westminster Abbey. She was the sixth queen regnant to be crowned in that historic church.
Elizabeth had ascended to the throne at age 25 upon the death of her father, King George VI, on Feb. 6, 1952. As is now customary, the coronation took place a year later.
Numerous countries of the British Commonwealth have struck coins to mark the 65th jubilee, although there are some notable exceptions.
Australia’s Perth Mint was quick off the mark with three proof coins issued in April: a 40.60 mm, 31.107 gram (one-ounce) .9999 fine silver $1, a 20.60 mm, 7.777 g .9999 fine gold $25, and a 41.10 mm, 62.213 g (two-ounce) .9999 fine gold $200. Mintages are 5,000, 750 and 250, respectively.
The common reverse design by Natasha Muhl depicts St. Edward’s Crown atop a stylized shield carrying the number “65.” These symbols are framed by the official floral emblems of Australia and of each Australian state and territory.
From the smallest nation in the Commonwealth comes a splendid accolade: a 40.00x40.00 mm 31.1035 g .999 fine silver $1 proof shaped after the style of a natal star. On the reverse, the young queen is shown at the moment of her coronation holding both the Sovereign’s Orb and Sovereign’s Scepter with Cross. She is back-dropped by the stained-glass windows of the Abbey. Each point of the star is occupied by St. Edward’s Crown, or the arms of one of the constituent parts of the United Kingdom. England’s lion and Scotland’s unicorn peek over her shoulders. Mintage is 900.
The Pacific island state of Niue has provided a 40.00 mm, 31.1035 g .9999 fine gold $100 proof. The central feature of its reverse is the Imperial State Crown worn by a monarch when they leave the Abbey. It is considerably lighter than St. Edward’s Crown. On the coin, the upper cross of the crown carries a genuine sapphire matching that of St. Edward that features on the crown itself.
The design is completed by a surround consisting of instruments of the coronation ceremony, the arms and national flowers of each part of the United Kingdom, and the lion and the unicorn.
Pobjoy Mint has supplied at least four coins from the various island states it is the mint for. From Ascension Island comes a one crown whose reverse design incorporates the Great Seals of both George VI and Elizabeth II. That of George is shown in silhouette to represent the queen replacing her father as sovereign in 1953. The 38.60 mm, 28.28 g coin is available in proof .925 fine silver or BU cupronickel.
A similar-sized two pounds from South Georgia features the three cherubs from the roof of the Royal State Coach who represent England, Ireland and Scotland and support St. Edward’s Crown. This coin, too, is available as a sterling silver proof or BU cupronickel.
The Falkland Islands have also contributed a crown. It displays the Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom complete with lion and unicorn bearers and the two historic English royal mottoes DIEU ET MON DROIT [God and my right] HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE [Evil be to him who evil thinks]. The arms shown on the coin are those found on Priors Gate at Winchester Cathedral. The coin is available in both sterling silver and cupronickel but also as a 36.10 mm, 10.00 g sapphire blue titanium striking.
At the time of writing, the Royal Canadian Mint, the Royal Australian Mint and New Zealand had not announced release of any celebratory coin specifically for the coronation jubilee. The RCM, however, has produced a noteworthy 38 mm, 31.39 g .9999 fine silver proof $20 honoring a second anniversary the monarch marks this year: the 70th birthday of her eldest son.
The coin is a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II as a matriarch. It features a 1948 portrait of the then Princess Elizabeth gazing at newly born Prince Charles born 70 years ago on Nov. 11. In 2018, she is mother of four children, grandmother of eight grandchildren and great-grandmother of six great-grandchildren – with a seventh on the way.
Reference to a second Canadian 38 mm, 31.39 g .9999 fine silver $20 proof is also appropriate here. This one features a 116-year-old maple leaf brooch belonging to the queen.
This brooch was originally presented to her grandmother, the future Queen Mary, during a royal tour in 1901 when Mary was Duchess of Cornwall and York. Canada next saw it in 2010 when Queen Elizabeth II wore it during a royal visit, although many observers failed to recognize it for what it was.
The replication of the brooch on the coin shows its six enameled maple leaves sporting their autumn colors and edged with brilliants. All are entwined around a single Swarovski® pearl crystal. Mintage is 5,500.
This article was originally printed in World Coin News. >> Subscribe today.
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