The Numismatic Bibliomania Society


The E-Sylum: Volume 25, Number 37, September 11, 2022, Article 6


David Pickup submitted these thoughts on the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. -Editor

Elizabeth the Great

Elizabeth II Mary Gillick portrait The lives of kings and queens is an essential part of numismatics. The passing of Her Majesty on Thursday is the end of an era. Most of us have never known a different monarch. Numismatically her reign started with the new issues bearing the Gillick portrait. That image was controversial at the time but it is now regarded as youthful and full of grace. The royal titles on the 1953 coins have BRITT OMN but this was only used for that year

Her portraits changed over the years, beginning with a portrait designed by Arnold Machin for the new decimal coins from 1968 although D Day was not until 1971. New pence quickly became just pence. The third portrait of the Queen was designed in 1985 by Raphael Maclouf. The fourth portrait of the Queen was designed by Ian Rank-Broadley. The last portrait was designed by Jody Clark in 2015 and shows the Queen with the Royal Diamond Diadem Crown, which she wore for her Coronation in 1953. Many coins were issued to mark Royal and national events over her seventy year reign. She appears on the coins of many commonwealth countries.

Her Majesty offered continuity in a world that changes too quickly. Rulers come and go but not many could justly claim the title The Great. She is entitled to that because of her many years of service and devotion to duty. She was not only the Queen of the United Kingdom but also of fifteen countries spanning nearly every continent. She was a vital link to many other nations and people across the world which we value so much. By tradition the portrait of the new king on his coins will face the opposite direction to the predecessor. It will be interesting to see what royal titles will be used on his coins.

We look back on her long reign with pride and gratitude and look forward to the reign of Charles III

God save the King

Thank you. Our thoughts are with our friends in the United Kingdom and commonwealth countries. Elizabeth II was truly a great Queen.

Here's one of the countless articles and news reports published following her death, and it happened to incorporate numismatics. Marketplace Morning Report ran a special episode about all the money in circulation bearing her image and the economic impact of a country in mourning. -Editor

Queen Elizabeth II From the BBC World Service: The United Kingdom and the world is remembering the life of Queen Elizabeth II, who has died. Her reign of 70 years was the longest in British history and she witnessed enormous political changes, including the development of the Commonwealth. In the U.K., a period of royal mourning will be observed until seven days after the Queen's funeral and many sports events and businesses are also changing their plans for the coming days.

To listen to the broadcast, see: (

Here's the reaction from the Royal Mint. -Editor

Anne Jessopp, Chief Executive Officer at The Royal Mint, said:

"On behalf of everyone at The Royal Mint, I would like to extend our heartfelt sympathy to The Royal Family at this extraordinarily sad time.

Queen Elizabeth II ruled with heart and devotion, and will be dearly missed by all of us at The Royal Mint and by millions of people around the world.

The Royal Mint worked with Her Late Majesty throughout her reign – detailing her journey from new Queen to respected head of state across five coin portraits, and ensuring each new UK coin received her personal seal of approval. The remarkable legacy of Britain's longest serving monarch will live on for many years to come."

The Royal Mint noted that "all United Kingdom circulating coins bearing portraits of Queen Elizabeth II remain legal tender and in circulation." Coins bearing her portrait continue to be struck, and the Royal Mint Experience remained open for visitors, with a book of condolence available for visitors to sign. See the mint site for articles including "Five portraits of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II" and "The first coins struck for Elizabeth II". -Editor

To visit the Royal Mint website, see:

David adds:

"There was a queue on the Royal Mint website of over 10,000.00 on Thursday night."

The Wall Street Journal wrote about the upcoming changes to coins and currency. -Editor

After 70 years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II's name, title, face and likeness are deeply ingrained not just on the hearts of many Britons, but more tangibly on British coins, flags, post boxes, chocolate wrappers, gin labels and attorney business cards.

That all has to change now that Charles is in charge.

With the queen's death, the U.K. has begun an imperial-sized rebrand that will slowly replace her image and title with that of the new king, Charles III. Among the items that will have to eventually be rebranded: 29 billion coins and 4.7 billion bank notes in circulation.

The Royal Mint, which produces the coins, and the Bank of England, which oversees the notes, will phase in new bills and coins adorned with King Charles, but that could take months and even years: The government is in the final throes of phasing out paper bills in favor of longer-lasting polymer notes.

To reassure an anxious public, the Bank of England came out with a statement following the queen's death that bills with her face on them would continue to be legal tender.

One change on the new currency: The new monarch will face left, while the queen faces right. It has long been tradition in the U.K. for each successive monarch to face a different direction than their predecessor, signaling a new era. A spokeswoman for The Royal Mint declined to provide details of the shift in coins.

Numismatic reverberations will extend beyond the British Isles, to many members of the Commonwealth. Canada has had the queen on its $20 bill since 1954—she made a cameo as a princess in the 1930s—and her face adorns the coins of Australia and New Zealand. She is particularly popular on currency in the Caribbean: Her face appears on the currencies of eight nations and territories there.

  King Charles III will face left
King Charles III will face left

For philatelists, the article also discusses changes to stamps and mailboxes. -Editor

The queen's cipher on Royal Mail box More gradual still is the Royal Mail, whose distinct, fire engine-red mailboxes are sprinkled on sidewalks across Britain. While it is expected to eventually roll out new stamps bearing the king's face, its mailboxes—which carry the queen's cipher, a kind of monogram with her first initial—historically have remained for as long as they're useful, in some cases more than a century.

Despite her 70-year reign, only about 60% of the country's post boxes were installed under Queen Elizabeth, according to the Royal Mail, while 15% remain from the time of George V, and even some remain bearing the cipher of Queen Victoria.

To read the complete article (subscription required), see:
Queen's Death Brings a King-Size Rebranding of Coins, Cookies and Committees (

Len Augsbuerger passed along a New York Times article on the topic:
Why King Charles's profile may face left on British coins, and why it matters. (

In 1968 there was a reunion in London of all the Victoria Cross and George Cross winners. A 15-year-old girl from India accompanied her father on the trip. -Editor

Peter Badcoe's  Victoria Cross We heard whispers that the Queen would be with us soon. There was a hushed silence and suddenly from the balcony we heard the band strike up God Save the Queen, and there she was with Prince Philip and some officials. We stood in hushed silence till the anthem ended and before I could get my wits together, she was introduced to our little gathering of about four people. The officer whispered something to her and she came up to me and my mother. We shook hands. She looked very pretty and petite and had a flawless skin and wore a small tiara on her hair. She smiled at me and said, You are a lucky young lady to have such a brave father.

I thanked her and she asked me if this was my first trip to England. I said it was and at this point she started telling me about all the sights I must see. She told me about Madame Tussauds, which was definitely on my list as at one time it had a bust of my father. She also told me about the of Tower of London and a trip down the Thames and what to look out for. While she was describing these places, I could not help but wondering how very caring she was to even think of taking so much time to explain all this to a star-struck teenager, who she instantly made comfortable. I was touched by her thoughtfulness.

To read the complete article, see:
My one lasting impression of the Queen (

Her Majesty had a great sense of humor all her life. -Editor

James Bond knew it. Paddington Bear knew it. Even her bodyguard chatting to the clueless American hiker knew it.

Queen Elizabeth II had a wicked sense of humor.

A favorite story about the queen that is doing the rounds on social media involves the time when she was asked by an American tourist who was hiking near her Balmoral estate in the Scottish highlands: Had she ever met the queen?

I haven't, said the queen. Then she pointed at her protection officer Richard Griffin and said he meets her regularly.

To read the complete article, see:
The queen was wickedly funny, as James Bond and Paddington Bear found out (

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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