First coin in the collection to feature His Majesty King Charles III’s official coinage portrait
The Royal Mint, the official maker of UK coins, has unveiled the fifth coin in its British Monarchs Collection. The coin, which features the remastered portrait of Henry VIII, is the fifth coin in The British Monarchs Collection and the second in the collection to feature a monarch from the House of Tudor. Henry VIII’s Father, Henry VII featured on the first coin of the series.
One of the United Kingdom’s most infamous monarchs, Henry VIII reigned between 1509 and 1547, presiding over monumental changes that brought England into the Protestant Reformation.
During his reign, Henry VIII debased his coinage by combining the precious metal content of a coin with a more common ‘base’ metal such as copper. Coins were struck with increasing amounts of copper, which has a thin layer of silver applied in order to make them more acceptable. This layer eventually wore away, especially around the nose of Henry VIII’s forward-facing portrait. This tell-tale sign on debased coins gave Henry VIII an unfavorable nickname, ‘Old Coppernose’.
The debasement of the coinage affected the quality of Henry VIII’s portrait, making it one of the most difficult of the original portraits to reproduce for the British Monarch’s Collection, as the fineness and clarity of the design had lost definition over the years.
To remaster the original Henry VIII coin as part of the British Monarch’s series, The Royal Mint’s talented design team combined their exceptional craftsmanship skills with innovative technology to successfully remaster the Henry VIII coin design. The design team, utilized state-of-the-art technology at the very beginning, with scanners being used to examine the original coin multiple times to provide clear reference points to the design. This, along with regular liaising with the Royal Mint Museum, ensured that the Henry VIII coin design had been remastered faithfully, with clarity added to the modern version of the original coin. The remastered Henry VIII coin design depicts what the design would have looked like once the coin was struck, prior to it losing its fineness of design.
Rebecca Morgan, Director of Collector Services at The Royal Mint said:
“Despite the challenge caused by the quality of Henry VIII’s original portrait, the effigy has been faithfully recreated in fine detail using state-of-the-art technology and numismatic processes.
“We are delighted to add Henry VIII as the fifth addition to the popular British Monarchs Collection. People love to collect the coins of different monarchs, and the British Monarchs series gives the chance for collectors to add key monarchs to complete their collections. With this being the first coin in the series to feature the official coinage portrait of His Majesty King Charles III, we do anticipate a high demand for these coins from collectors. There has been significant international appeal with The British Monarchs Collection, with its coins being bought by collectors in multiple countries.”
Chris Barker, Information and Research Manager at The Royal Mint Museum said:
“Due to the debasement, good examples of coins from this period of Henry VIII’s reign are rare to find, meaning that the definition of the reverse and obverse designs have been worn away through time. The coin used to recreate the King’s portrait was a testoon, one of the coins that would have been affected by the debasement.”
The Royal Mint’s British Monarchs series spans four Royal Houses – Tudor, Stuart, Hanover, and Windsor: formerly known as Saxe-Coburg, Gotha – remastering iconic designs in high definition for the first time thanks to the latest technology and minting techniques.
For more information about the Henry VIII coin, please visit British Monarchs – Henry VII- House of Tudor | The Royal Mint. For more information about The British Monarchs Collection, please visit British Monarchs | The Royal Mint.