The Royal Mint reveals plans for fifth portrait of The Queen to be launched in 2015.
The Royal Mint confirmed that it will be all change for UK coinage next year when the definitive portrait of Her Majesty The Queen is to be updated for the first time since 1998.
Whilst the UK economy bounds back from the great recession, the coins have been unchanged. Plans were launched for new-style notes, which would be made form a plastic-like material that would be more resilient. Other changes to hard currency include the proposed idea for Jane Austen on the £5 note, the first woman to appear on it, other than a monarch.
The current coinage portrait of The Queen by Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS, which has been a constant presence on circulating and commemorative coins for 16 years, will be replaced by a new portrait.
It is only the fifth definitive coin portrait to have been created during The Queen’s 62 year reign, making it a rare and significant change for the coins we all use every day.
The new portrait will be chosen by a closed competition commissioned by the Royal Mint Advisory Committee (RMAC) where a number of specialist designers are invited to submit designs under anonymous cover, before a winner is selected by the RMAC.
The news means that 2015 will be a vintage year for UK coins, and the first 2015 dated coins to be released, such as the new 2015 Sovereign, will be the last ever coins to feature the current effigy.
Dating back to the 15th Century, The Sovereign was for many years the primary circulating gold coin not just in the UK but in many countries around the world, and was named The Sovereign because of the handsome portrait of the Monarch engraved on its obverse.
This 2015 Sovereign will be a particularly special issue, as the early editions will feature the current portrait by Ian Rank-Broadley, while those struck in 2015 will be amongst the very first to feature the new effigy.
Adam Lawrence, chief executive of The Royal Mint, said, “This change of effigy will make 2015 a vintage year for UK coins, and while it will be hugely exciting for us all to see the new design appear on the coins we use every day, we also believe it is right that The Sovereign, our most famous coin which gets its name from the fact that it carries an image of the monarch on its obverse, be among the first to carry both the current portrait on these new releases, and the new effigy when it is revealed.”
There were estimated to be 28.9 billion UK coins in circulation at 31 March 2014 ,with a total face value of £3.9 billion, all manufactured by The Royal Mint. In total, nearly two billion UK coins were issued during 2013-14.
There was no word on how much the production of the new coin will cost.