By Hubert Walker for CoinWeek ….
Queen Elizabeth II will celebrate 65 years on the throne come February 6 – the first British ruler to do so. And with the death of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej on October 13, 2016, Elizabeth is the world’s longest reigning living monarch.
So to honor the 65th anniversary of the Queen’s rule–her Sapphire Jubilee–the Royal Mint has produced a set of specially designed coins.
All of the coins carry the official fifth portrait of Queen Elizabeth II designed by Jody Clark on the obverse. The fifth portrait made its debut in 2015.
Each coin also features the edge inscription “Shine through the Ages”.
My whole life, whether it be long or short, devoted to your service
—Queen Elizabeth II, on the occasion of her 21st birthday, April 21, 1947
Four of the coins have a face value of five pounds (£5). These include a Brilliant Uncirculated cupro-nickel coin, a 22-carat gold Proof coin, a .925 sterling silver Proof coin, and a double-thick piedfort .925 fine sterling silver Proof coin. 650 of the £5 gold coins will be produced, while 8,000 silver Proof and 2,500 piedfort silver Proof coins will be struck. There is no currently announced production limit on the cupro-nickel BU coin.
The reverse of each £5 coin was designed by Glyn Davies, and features both the Imperial State Crown and a line from the speech a young Elizabeth delivered on her 21st birthday – five years before her coronation in 1952. The crown is rotated (relative to traditional renderings) to better display the 104-carat blue sapphire known as the Stuart Sapphire near the bottom. Around the central design are the words SAPPHIRE JUBILEE. The dual year 1952-2017 is at the bottom of the coin.
The set’s higher denomination coins were designed by Anglican Bishop Gregory Cameron. He is responsible for the design of the last “round pound“, issued in 2016. For the reverse of the new set of Sapphire Jubilee coins, Cameron employed the Royal Coat of Arms surrounded on the left and right by olive and oak tree branches, symbols of peace and strength, respectively.
Coins with the Cameron design include a five-ounce, .999 fine silver Proof coin with a face value of £10, a .999 fine one-kilogram silver Proof coin with a face value of £500, and a one-kilo gold Proof coin with a face value of £1,000. Only 1,500 of the 10-pound silver coins will be minted. The silver kilo coin will be limited to a production run of 250 pieces. And lastly, a minuscule 21 examples of the £1,000 kilo gold commemorative coin will be struck.
It retails for £49,995 (approximately $62,494 USD).
The last few years have been replete with anniversaries for Queen Elizabeth II. She became the longest reigning English monarch in 2015, surpassing that of her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.
And in April last year, the Queen celebrated her 90th birthday.
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