The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 16, Number 53, December 29, 2013, Article 12


Martin Purdy submitted these thoughts on the Churchill Crown, which the Oxford Numismatic Society deemed the worst commemorative. Thanks! -Editor

The Churchill Crown really is a "love it or hate it" item - I don't think I know any collector who's a fence-sitter on this one. I may be in the minority but I'm in the "love it" camp - the Churchill effigy is realistic (much more than can be said for a lot of modern portraiture) and seems to grow out of the field of the coin, almost as if it were an unfinished statue. The one word on the reverse is all that needs to be said. Sure, there were too many made, but that at least means they have not been priced out of the market and anyone who wants one will never be disappointed. It doesn't worry me that it's only "worth" 25 pence still, it will stay on my list of favourites. Collectors don't have to be investors.

I'd also add that it was the only British commemorative coin that year, indeed the only one between the crown piece of 1960 and that of 1972. So in the meantime we've gone from a small number of commemorative issues, each with large mintages, to a huge number of issues each year but usually much smaller individual mintages. I know which I prefer from this perspective, too, and would vote for "anything after about 1990" as "worst commemorative" on that basis alone, not just from the UK.

I would have to say I like the coin for many of the same reasons Martin cites. Here's some more information from the NGC web site, where I located an image of the coin. -Editor

Churchill Crown The Great Britain 1965 Winston Churchill crown was the first time a commoner was portrayed on a British coin.

With so many commemorative coins issued in recent decades, it’s hard to imagine that at one time being portrayed on a commemorative coin was one of the highest honors for any individual. The appearance of Churchill shows the magnitude of his importance and popularity.

Churchill graduated from the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst at the end of 1894 and saw action in British India, Sudan and the second Boer War in South Africa. He later went into politics and served as Chancellor of the Exchequer where he returned the British Pound to the gold standard in 1925. In 1940 he became Prime Minster after Neville Chamberlain resigned. During this period he reached his highest acclaim by leading Great Britain through World War II and to victory.

Churchill received many awards and honors including the Nobel Prize for Literature and the offer of Duke of London, which he refused. He was the first person made an honorary citizen of the United States and one of only seven to receive this honor.

After his death in January 1965 at the age of 90, he received some of the greatest honors. By decree of Queen Elizabeth his body laid in state for three days. The queen attended his funeral at St. Paul’s Cathedral, which was almost unheard of for a monarch.

Portraits on coinage were reserved for the ruling monarchy in Great Britain. Yet, the magnitude of Winston Churchill and the imprint he had left on Britain (and the world) was too great to resist. As the world quickly paid its respects, Britain issued a circulation coin like none other in its history.

To read the complete article, see: WORLD COINS: GREAT BRITIAN 1965 WINSTON CHURCHILL CROWN (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: THE ONS' BEST AND WORST IN NUMISMATICS (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address:

To subscribe go to:



Copyright © 1998 - 2020 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.

NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster