The Royal Mint has launched the latest collection of its world renowned flagship coin – The Sovereign – featuring a celebratory obverse portrait for one year only on Proof Sovereign coins, to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday year. This is only the second time in Queen Elizabeth’s reign that a commemorative portrait has been used on Sovereign proof coins, the last time being in 1989.
For centuries, The Sovereign has been a constant in our coinage, trusted and respected throughout the world through times of change. As Her Majesty The Queen celebrates her 90th birthday, The Proof Sovereign 2016 pays tribute to Britain’s longest reigning monarch, combining tradition with celebration in a celebratory edition that pairs the iconic image of St. George with an obverse portrait of The Queen by renowned sculptor James Butler MBE RA. The fifth definitive coinage effigy of The Queen by Jody Clark, first introduced in 2015, features on the Brilliant Uncirculated Sovereign and Half-Sovereign.
Anne Jessopp, The Royal Mint’s Director of Commemorative Coin, said:
“This is another significant year in The Royal Mint’s Sovereign story, as the nation celebrates The Queen’s 90th birthday year with James Butler’s special edition Proof Sovereign portrait.”
The Sovereign Collection includes five Proof standard coins, available individually (with the exception of the Five-Sovereign Piece and the Double-Sovereign) or in sets of three and five, presented in handsome display cases and accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity and booklet. The Sovereign 2016 and The Half-Sovereign 2016 are also available struck to our Brilliant Uncirculated standard.
James Butler MBE RA is the designer of the obverse portrait of The Queen that appears for one year on Proof coins in The Sovereign 2016 Collection. Born in London in 1931, James is a widely respected sculptor with a prolific portfolio.
While renowned for his towering bronze sculptures, the artist has also earned a notable reputation in the numismatic world, creating several prestigious pieces for The Royal Mint. One such creation was the Great Seal of the Realm adopted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2001, who granted a sitting with James to perfect his design. Undeniably worthy of the official and regal insignia, the design is respected worldwide as a numismatic work of art.
“I have been privileged to meet The Queen on a few occasions through various works I have created, including the Royal Seal of the Realm and more recently, a statue of Her Majesty as a young woman. You have an idea of how a person looks in your mind, but it is important to have actual images to work from, so The Royal Mint provided official photographs of The Queen’s profile. I wanted to show a likeness of her, an affectionate image, as this was a celebration rather than a circulating coinage portrait.”