Queen Elizabeth II - A Life To Remember

Author: Connor Campbell - Bullion & Economics Editor

Published: 4 Sep 2023

Last Updated: 8 Sep 2023


Reflecting on a year since the world bid farewell to Queen Elizabeth II, her legacy shines through special memorial coins by The Royal Mint. Australia also unveiled a new 5-dollar coin featuring a depiction of Queen Elizabeth II, along with representations of the country's convict history and Indigenous heritage. Additionally, The Royal Mint verified that approximately 27 billion coins remain in circulation, releasing a catalogue of the scarcest coins from Queen Elizabeth II's 70-year reign.

Key Takeaways

  • Queen Elizabeth II passed away a year ago today, marking the first anniversary of King Charles III's ascension to the British throne.
  • The Royal Mint issued the Queen Elizabeth II Memorial Proof Sovereign range in 2022
  • Australia released a new 5-dollar coin to honour Queen Elizabeth II's legacy, with a reverse design depicting the country's convict history and Indigenous heritage.
  • Over 27 billion coins are in current circulation during Queen Elizabeth II's 70-year reign, commemorating significant historical events.

The Passing of Queen Elizabeth II

One year ago today, on September 8th, 2022, Britain braced itself for challenging times following an announcement from Buckingham Palace at 12:30 BST. The announcement, made public, revealed that the Queen's health was in decline. In response, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker of the House of Commons, offered a brief statement, extending well wishes to her and her family.

Throughout the day, both Britain and other nations keenly followed updates across a range of media outlets. BBC News, for instance, reported various members of the Royal Family heading to Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. As the day progressed, and much of the British public finished their work, the BBC made an announcement at 18:31. Presented by Huw Edwards, the statement conveyed a message from the Royal Family. Merely five minutes later, at 18:36 BST, BBC Radio's Chris Aldridge's also confirmed the news. It was eventually revealed that the Queen had passed away at 15:10 BST, at the age of 96.

Her Majesty's eldest son, Charles Philip Arthur George, now formally recognised as King Charles III, ascended to the British throne upon his mother's passing on September 8, 2022. When faced with the choice of his regal name among the options of Charles Philip Arthur George, Charles chose to maintain his existing name and assume the title of King Charles III. He holds the distinction of being the longest-serving British heir apparent, taking on the role of monarch at the age of 73.

Queen Elizabeth II Memorial Sovereign

On November 15, 2022, The Royal Mint unveiled the 2022 Queen Elizabeth II Memorial Sovereign range. These sovereigns pay tribute to the life and legacy of Her Majesty as Queen of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, featuring a unique Royal Coat of Arms design. The creator of this design is Jody Clark, a former engraver of The Royal Mint, renowned for engraving the fifth portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.

These 2022 coins are the first sovereigns to feature HM King Charles III on the obverse. The portrait was designed by Martin Jennings, a renowned British sculptor with an impressive portfolio of work, working predominantly in bronze and stone. His works include WWII memorials and famous poet statues. Discover our collection of the 2022 Queen Elizabeth II memorial sovereign range from the Royal Mint, featuring bullion, Brilliant Uncirculated (BU), proof finishes, NGC graded coins, and various coin sets.

The 2022 Proof Memorial Sovereign Range

The 2022 Memorial Proof Sovereign Range from the Royal Mint includes the following coins.

Denomination Face Value Finish Metal Diameter Weight Fineness Actual Metal
Limited Edition
Maximum Coin
Quintuple Sovereign £5 Proof Gold 36.02 mm 39.94 g 916.67 1.1771 oz N/A 1,230
Quintuple Sovereign £5  BU Gold  36.02 mm 39.94 g  916.67   1.1771 oz  1,000  1,010
Double Sovereign £2 Proof Gold 28.4 mm 15.976 g 916.67 0.4708 oz N/A 1,980
Piedfort Sovereign £1  Proof Gold 22.05 mm 15.976 g 916.67 0.4708 oz 2,022 2,032
Sovereign £1  Proof Gold 22.05 mm 7.988 g 916.67 0.2354 oz 17,500 23,160
Half Sovereign £0.50  Proof Gold 19.3 mm 3.994 g 916.67 0.1177 oz 3,000 6,480
Quarter Sovereign £0.25  Proof Gold 13.5 mm 1.997 g 916.67 0.0589 oz 3,000 6,480

The Royal Mint also released a five-coin set (featuring the proof quintuple, double, full, half and quarter sovereigns), four-coin set (double, full, half and quarter sovereigns), and three-coin set (sovereign, half sovereign and quarter sovereign). These sets have a limited-edition presentation of 1,200, 750, and 1,500 respectively.

Australia’s New Memorial Coin Featuring Queen Elizabeth II

On the eve of the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's passing, the Royal Australian Mint released a new 5-dollar coin. This coin features a portrayal of the fifth portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, designed by Jody Clark, along with a distinctive reverse design showcasing the 'Aboriginal heritage and convict history of Australia. The announcement of the coin took place at Hyde Park Barracks in Sydney, a historical site that once housed British convicts following the establishment of the penal colony of New South Wales in 1788.

The reverse side of the coin showcases numerous convict sites across Australia, where prisoners were sent to Australia by the United Kingdom and subjected to harsh conditions designed to break their spirit. This practice persisted for 80 years, during which the total number of convicts surpassed 166,000 individuals, including children. Key features of the reverse design encompass depictions of the Hyde Park Barracks, Freemantle Prison, and the Budj Bim volcano, which last erupted between 30,000 and 39,000 years ago in Australia.

Australia to Vote on Indigenous People on October 14th 2023

As the Australian people prepare for the upcoming referendum which will allow them to decide if the Indigenous peoples should be provided with a mechanism to offer advice to parliament regarding policies that impact them. This referendum was approved in response to the lower quality of life experienced by the Indigenous population of Australia. On average, they live nearly eight years less than other Australians, primarily due to a multitude of challenges. These challenges encompass a range of issues, including but not limited to elevated levels of criminal activity, unemployment, and suicide. These difficulties arise from their isolation and lack of representation in parliament.

Australia Welcomes Elizabeth II Portrait but Not King Charles III

In early 2023, the Reserve Bank of Australia decided against featuring a portrait of King Charles III on the new 5-dollar banknote. Instead, they have chosen to incorporate the fifth portrait on the new 5-dollar coin. Many Australians expressed their desire to discontinue their affiliation with the Commonwealth following the conclusion of Queen Elizabeth II's reign. An assistant minister from the Australian Republic movement discussed the vision of Australia as an independent nation with its own distinct identity and culture, separate from the monarchy, once Queen Elizabeth II's reign concludes.

The Crown Coin - World’s Most Expensive Coin

On September 7th, 2023, The East India Company unveiled 'The Crown Coin,' the world's most expensive coin, to commemorate the first anniversary of HM Queen Elizabeth II's passing. Described by the company as a "16-month labour of love," the coin is crafted from nearly 4 kilograms of gold (3.61kg) and is adorned with 6,426 diamonds, valuing it at £18.47 million GBP. Should it be auctioned, it is anticipated to exceed the current record held by a rare double eagle coin, which sold for a staggering £15.17 million in 2021. Additionally, what elevates the grandeur of this coin is the collaborative effort of eight different countries and the meticulous craftsmanship of 83 individuals who contributed to the delicate creation of this coin, commemorating the one-year anniversary.

The reverse side of the centre coin commemorates Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years on the throne from 1952 to 2022, which also turned out to be the final year of her reign before her passing. This design features Her Majesty's royal cypher, with the Lion of England seated, flanked by two figures standing beside it. The legend's inscription of the coin reads as the following:

 The QUEEN'S PLATINUM JUBILEE · 1952 - 2022 ·

Alongside the reverse side of the coin showcases the five coinage portraits of Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by representations of the six virtues depicted on the Victoria Memorial situated outside Buckingham Palace. The inscriptions on the broader section of the coin feature excerpts from the Queen's coronation speech, which she delivered to the British public, along with the inscription marking the Queen's coronation oath in 1953.

· The things I have here before promised I will perform and keep so help me god ·

· Throughout all my life and with all my heart I will strive to be worthy of your trust ·

On the obverse side of the coin, the centrepiece showcases the fifth portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by the following inscription:


·10000 POUNDS 2022 ·

On the broader section of the obverse edge the inscriptions read as:

 · With age comes experience and that can be a virtue if properly used ·

· By being willing to put past differences behind us and move forward together ·

· God save the Queen ·

Finally, the edge of the entire coin is inscribed with "THE EAST INDIA COMPANY · LONDON".

Exploring the Rarest Coins from Queen Elizabeth II's Reign

The Royal Mint has recently released an article that provides a detailed account of the rare coins minted during Queen Elizabeth II's reign over the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms. The coins showcased on their list were finalised after the publication of the 2022 mintage figures, marking the last year before the passing of Elizabeth II. It's essential to highlight that over the course of Her Majesty's 70-year reign, an estimated 27 billion coins have remained in active circulation. These coins commemorate a diverse amount of significant historical events, with some having notably lower mintage numbers from The Royal Mint.

What Are the Rarest £2 Coins?

Among the most uncommon £2 coins ever minted during Queen Elizabeth II's reign, a prevailing theme was that of the Olympic Games. Notably, the scarcest £2 coins issued by The Royal Mint had a mintage of 650,000, and they showcased two distinct designs: 'Britannia 2015' and 'First World War Royal Navy 2015'. It's crucial to know that the bimetallic style was introduced for general circulation in 1997, although the initial version was struck in 1994 as the 'Royal Mint Trial £2 bi-metallic coin.'

This coin showcased a design featuring a sailing ship named the Mayflower. Remarkably, it holds the record for the lowest mintage (485,500) of any £2 coin. However, this coin was exclusively issued in a presentation pack and held no legal tender value. Its release served the purpose of a Royal Mint trial before introducing the new bimetallic style of £2 coins into circulation.

What Are the Rarest 50p Coins?

The rarest 50p coin presently in circulation is the 2009 Kew Gardens coin, boasting a limited mintage of just 210,000. Among all the 50p coins currently in circulation, the 1992 Single Market coin stands out as the rarest ever during Elizabeth II's reign, with a  total mintage of 109,000. As a result, encountering one of these coins in your change today is highly improbable.

What Are the Rarest 10p Coins?

In 2018, The Royal Mint introduced a collection of 26 unique 10p coin designs, aiming to celebrate the iconic landmarks across the United Kingdom. Known as the 'A to Z' 10p coins, this series captures the essence of Britain's cultural richness. Among them, the rarest circulated designs have a limited mintage of 63,000 each and include the following:

  • Z - Zebra Crossing: This coin depicts the iconic zebra crossing.
  • Y - Yeoman Warder: The Yeoman Warder (commonly known as a Beefeater).
  • W - World Wide Web: The World Wide Web-themed coin, featuring a web design.

Memorial Proof Sovereigns For Sale

Pay homage to HM Queen Elizabeth II by adding a 2022 memorial proof sovereign to your coin collection. This special coin features King Charles III and a unique one-off royal coat of arms design.

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