Coins Mark Double Coronation Anniversaries|
July 03, 2013
This year Great Britain celebrates not one but two coronation anniversaries. It is not only the 60th anniversary of the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II but also the 175th anniversary of the coronation of her Great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria.
Down Under, The Perth Mint has marked this serendipitous occasion with a number of coins, two of which recall distinctive numismatic aspects of Victoria’s reign.
In April the Mint released two proof coins for Queen Victoria. First was a 40.60 mm, 1 ounce .999 fine silver dollar. For its colorized reverse design, Aleysha Howarth used the 1840 portrait of the Queen in her coronation robes by Sir George Hayter and currently held in the Royal Collection. Coin mintage was 5,000.
The second coin is more numismatically interesting. Here Aleysha recreated William Wyon’s original “Young Head” effigy of the new Queen as the centerpiece of her reverse design. It is presented without any embellishments, other than frosting, on a 41.10 mm, 2 ounce .9999 fine gold $200 that has a mintage of 150.
Victoria’s reincarnation was achieved by the Mint’s die production department first laser-scanning a British penny from 1853. Aleysha Howarth then reworked this image prior to the die being engraved. A comparison with other versions of Wyon’s Young Head effigy of Victoria suggests Aleysha has created a variety of the so-called “low hairline” type. Her new image lacks the extra curl behind the ear. It also lacks the extra curl behind the bob that is associated with Victoria’s “low hairline” style but absent from the “high hairline” coiffure.
In June, two 30.60 mm, 13.00 gram aluminum-bronze dollars were issued whose reverse designs feature different crowns associated with each monarch. These coins are available solely as part of the PNC issued jointly with Australia Post.
On Queen Victoria’s dollar the reverse design shows her small diamond crown, just 99 mm high and 90 mm in diameter. This crown was made in 1870 using some 1,300 diamonds recycled from a large necklace plus others from the Queen’s personal collection. She wore it atop her widow’s cap as in her Jubilee effigy by Sir Edgar Boehm that appeared on her coins in 1887.
The reverse of Queen Elizabeth’s dollar shows St. Edward’s Crown made in 1661. This crown has been used for most, but not all, English coronation ceremonies. It is said to be have been made using gold from the crown of Edward the Confessor that had been used by his successor William I. Many monarchs have objected to the weight of Edward’s crown. Victoria declined to use it for her coronation but Elizabeth did as had her father. However, once she had been crowned with it, Elizabeth switched to a slimmed-down version of the Imperial State Crown for the remainder of her coronation and procession.
It is reported that prior to formal occasions such as the State Opening of Parliament, monarchs commonly wear their state crowns in their private apartments for a few hours of a morning to get used to the weight and feel. Prior to one State Opening, Queen Elizabeth was reported wearing hers while eating breakfast and reading the newspapers.
And, by the way, Queen Victoria holds the record for the longest reigning British monarch of all time, serving her country and its empire for 63 years and 216 days. However, Queen Elizabeth is closing in on Great-great-grandma. She could eclipse her in September 2015. In May 2011, Elizabeth pushed Great-great-great-great-grandfather, George III, into third place. He reigned for 21,644 days.
The obverse of all the above Australian coins shows Ian Rank-Broadley’s effigy of Queen Elizabeth. If your friendly neighborhood coin dealer is unable to supply any of the items mentioned, check out www.perthmint.com.au or write Perth Mint, 310 Hay St., East Perth, WA 6004.
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