The Royal Mint has announced that it is to launch the UK’s first face value £50 for £50 coin. Celebrating the year that Her Majesty the Queen became the nation’s longest-reigning monarch and the return of the iconic Britannia image to UK coinage, this silver coin will feature images of two of the nation’s most recognizable female portraits.
Unusually for British coinage, both portraits are by the same artist – 33-year-old Royal Mint Engraver Jody Clark (View Designer’s Profile) – who first sprung to the public’s attention earlier this year with his design for the ‘fifth portrait’ of Her Majesty The Queen on UK coins. The youngest designer ever to be selected for this honour, Jody’s royal effigy has been paired with his critically acclaimed contemporary figure of Britannia on the new commemorative £50 coin.
The Queen’s portrait has been a reassuring presence on our coins for more than six decades, the latest ‘fifth’ effigy first appearing on UK coinage in March this year. The figure of Britannia is a popular representation of Britain that has been reimagined through the centuries, and often reflects the United Kingdom at a moment in time.
Jody Clark said: “Having my portrait of The Queen selected for Britain’s coinage was an incredible experience, but now, seeing the portrait combined with my Britannia design on the UK’s new £50 coin is a double honour”
The Royal Mint’s Director of Commemorative Coin, Anne Jessopp, said: “It seems apt that these two familiar British figures, both designed by Jody Clark, feature together on the UK’s first face value £50 coin in the year that The Queen became Britain’s Longest Reigning Monarch, and Britannia returned to the circulating coinage.”
The first in The Royal Mint’s face value coin range, the £20 for £20 coin marking the birth of Prince George of Cambridge in 2013, was warmly welcomed and sold out within days, whilst the £100 for £100 ‘Big Ben’ coin was another sell-out ‘first’ in December 2014. Early signs are that Jody Clark’s £50 for £50 Britannia / fifth effigy pairing will be equally popular.
What I am unclear about, is whether or not this will be issued for commerce or is it just as a collectible?