This year’s celebrations for the coronation of King Charles III were met with rejoicing and pride in an event that combined 1,000 years of royal tradition with the spirit of modern day Britain, in all its creativity and diversity. This magnificent 21st century spectacle was watched the world over – just as the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was watched by millions through the new medium of television in 1953.
When the young queen solemnly received the orb and sceptre and was crowned in Westminster Abbey seventy years ago, no one could have known she would go on to become Britain’s best loved and longest reigning monarch.
In tribute to an exceptional queen, and the 70th Anniversary of her Coronation in June 2023, an exceptional series of commemorative gold sovereigns has been announced. On them, the Queen appears in a graceful and stately Equestrian Portrait where she is depicted on horseback. This is a direct link with the very first commemorative coin of her reign which was a special crown coin produced for her Coronation in 1953: it too featured an Equestrian Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.
Commemorative gold sovereigns for this milestone anniversary of coronation
On 2nd June 1953, a young queen barely 27 years old, seated in the King Edward’s Chair as so many before her, took on the profound responsibilities of state when she was crowned Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey. The ceremony was broadcast on radio around the world and, at the Queen’s request, on television for the first time. Television brought the splendour and majesty of the coronation to millions of people around the world, in a way never before possible.
An estimated 27 million people in Britain watched the ceremony on television whilst vast crowds lined the procession route in spite of the rain.
This was the fourth and final coronation of the 20th century. Due to the queen’s incredible longevity, Britain would not see another for a full seventy years – in fact, until 2023. This ancient ceremony links centuries of royal tradition and reinforces a sense of our shared histories. It is an event that most people only ever see once in their lifetime.
This is why the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation is being marked with special commemorative gold sovereign coins. It may surprise you to learn, that there were no gold sovereigns issued for the 1953 coronation – instead, a special Equestrian Portrait of the queen adorned the Coronation Crown coin. It is this style of design that now features on these first-of-a-kind sovereigns, produced to mark the 70th anniversary of that coronation.
A number of features make these new coronation sovereigns among the most important of their kind
Commemorative gold sovereign coins are issued sparingly, to mark events of major national and royal significance. They have been produced to mark anniversaries of the reigns of other great British monarchs such as Queen Victoria, King George III and King George V, and now, Queen Elizabeth II will take her place amongst this illustrious group.
The design features an Equestrian Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, of the type first used on the queen’s 1953 Coronation Crown. Monarchs are rarely portrayed in any style other than the traditional facial profile portrait – in fact, not since the reign of King Charles I had a British monarch been depicted in this way. Well-known for her horsemanship, this unusual design celebrates our late queen’s stately grace and poise on horseback.
Most of the coins in this series are the first of their kind ever to feature an Equestrian Portrait.
The obverse of these coins depicts King Charles III, and he faces the opposite direction to his mother, maintaining a tradition that dates back to the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 and the reign of our new king’s namesake – King Charles II
The Equestrian Portrait of the kind first seen on the queen’s Coronation Crown, celebrates the 70th anniversary of her coronation
The era of the modern sovereign began in the year 1817 and since that time, a number of British monarchs have had sovereigns minted in the same year as their coronation. However, it’s worth remembering that Queen Elizabeth II did not have any gold sovereigns at all in her coronation year. Britain was still emerging from post-war austerity and no gold coinage had been minted since the 1930s.
The Equestrian Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, therefore, first appeared on her Coronation Crown of 1953. It was a departure from the usual depiction of the monarch seen on the obverse – traditionally, a right or left-facing bust. It was the first time since the reign of King Charles I that an equestrian portrait of the monarch had been seen on a British coin.
This special coronation coin issue depicted Queen Elizabeth II riding sidesaddle on a prancing horse, a riding stock in her left hand and reins in her right. As Colonel-in-Chief of the Grenadier Guards she is shown wearing the uniform of that office, complete with plumed cap.
Other versions of the Equestrian Portrait were used later in her reign on the Silver Jubilee Crown of 1977, and again on two further commemorative crown sized coins for the Golden and Platinum jubilees in 2002 and 2022 respectively. Now, as we mark the anniversary of Elizabeth II’s coronation in her absence for the first time, a graceful Equestrian Portrait appears once again, bringing the queen’s extraordinary reign full circle.
Authorised by Tristan Da Cunha and approved by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and Buckingham Palace, it is a wonderful celebration – the first time in history, a Prestige Sovereign Set has featured an Equestrian Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.
Benefit from the SELL OUT GUARANTEE
The 2023 Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Anniversary Prestige Sovereign Set will not exceed 1,551 sets and is also subject to our new SELL OUT GUARANTEE. What this means is that availability of this set will end on 30th September 2023. At that time, any sets that are unsold will be melted down and verified to that effect.
At that point, we will issue to owners of this set a new certificate stating the final mintage which may be lower, or possibly considerably lower, than 1,551. If the mintage remains at 1,551 then this means the set sold out entirely to keen customers, and if not, you may have secured for yourself a low mintage rarity.
Either way, there will be little or no surplus of this set on the secondary market and so the set you own will be a rarity in the gold sovereign series.