New £5 coin - Two heads are better than one
A commemorative £5 coin with two heads celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee has been launched by the Royal Mint.
The collectors’ piece features two new portraits of the Queen by celebrated sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley.
The first of the images shows the Royal as she appears today, dressed in formal Garter robes.
On the reverse the artwork is inspired by the first portrait of the Queen to appear on coins from 1953, and features a youthful Elizabeth classically depicted wearing a laurel crown.
Alongside this image are the Latin words Dirige Deus Gressus Meos - May God Guide My Steps.
The coin is official UK tender and has gone on sale priced £12.99 but is expected to quickly become a collectors’ item.
'Ian’s new portraits tell the story of the Queen’s long reign with beauty and elegance, dignity and character, evoking the spirit of the Queen as only a truly gifted artist can.”
Following normal practice, the design for the coin was approved by Buckingham Palace.
The first circulating coin featuring the Queen's portrait was designed in 1953 by Mary Gillick when the monarch was 27.
The image appeared on pre-decimalisation coins including the farthing, shilling and florin.
A second portrait appeared in 1968 designed by Arnold Machin, Raphael Maklouf designed the third portrait in 1985, depicting the Queen in her late fifties, and Mr Rank-Broadley created the fourth in 1998.
Mr Rank-Broadley's other prominent work includes two bronze sculpture groups created for the Armed Forces Memorial near Lichfield in Staffordshire.
The Queen celebrates her Diamond Jubilee next year when the focus of the celebrations will be an extended four-day bank holiday weekend in June. This will mark the start of 100 days also set to bring the Olympics and Paralympics.