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EFFIGIES OF BRITISH COINS

With deciphering of the legends in Latin


Victoria | Edward VII | George V | George VI | Elizabeth II


 

Different effigies on Victoria's period coins

Victoria's period coins will vary during her long lasting reign. A lot of different profiles of the English Queen, become Empress of the Indies, exist. My purpose in creating this personal website is to make more familiar English coins in France. Here are represented the different profiles of Victoria.

The first effigy of Queen Victoria engraved on coins dates back to 1838 and was used until 1887. William Wyon was the engraver.

The legend on the Victorian coins is most of the time (with abbreviations) VICTORIA DEI GRATIA BRITANNIARUM REGINA FIDEI DEFENSTRIX, that means Victoria by the grace of God Queen of the British and defender of faith.

*The first English sovereign to be qualified of "defender of Faith" was Henri VIII (1491-1547). He was granted this title by the Roman court after the publication of a book defending the catholic faith, at the beginning of his reign.

The Victoria's jubilee effigy existed from 1888 to 1893. This effigy was drawn by Sir Joseph Boehm and engraved by Leonard Charles Wyon.

The effigy of old Victoria existed from 1894 to 1901. The author of this engraving is Sir Thomas Brock.

The legend on the Victorian coins during her last years of reign is (without the abbreviations) VICTORIA DEI GRATIA BRITANNIARUM REGINA FIDEI DEFENSTRIX INDIAE IMPERATRIX, which means Victoria by the grace of God Queen of the British, defender of faith and Empress of the Indies.

This effigy, young crowned Victoria, existed from 1849 to 1887 and was exclusively used on the florin.
This effigy, old crowned Victoria, was used on British colonies' coins (Hong Kong for instance).

 

Different effigies on Edward VII's period coins

The bareheaded effigy of Edward VII is a creation of the engraver George William de Saulles.

The legend engraved on Edward VII's coins is (without the abbreviations) EDWARDUS VII DEI GRATIA BRITANNIARUM OMNIUM REX FIDEI DEFENSOR INDIAE IMPERATOR, which means Edward VII by the grace of God King of all the British, defender of faith and emperor of the Indies.

There is a second effigy of Edward VII for the British colonies : his bust wearing a crown.

The legend for British colonies' coins, in Edward's VII time, is the same than on the United Kingdom's coins, or ...

... or more often EDWARD VII KING & EMPEROR, VII, like on the obverse of British dollars of the Straits Settlements (today Malaysia).

 

Different effigies on George V's period coins

The effigy without crown of George V is the work of Sir Bertram MacKennal.

The legend engraved on George V's coins is (without the abbreviations) GEORGIUS V DEI GRATIA BRITANNIARUM OMNIUM REX FIDEI DEFENSOR INDIAE IMPERATOR, that means George V by the grace of God King of all the British, defender of faith and emperor of India.

Two effigies are to be found for British colonies, we can see George V's bust wearing a crown. Opposite, one of the two.

The legend for the British colonies' coins from George V's time is : GEORGE V KING EMPEROR.

 

Opposite the second crowned bust of George V, struck on dominions or Commonwealth kingdoms or British colonies, for instance Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.

Under the reign of George V, the legend written on most of coins of these English colonies is similar to the legend on the United Kingdom's coins.

 

Different effigies on George's VI period coins

The bareheaded effigy of George VI was made by the engraver Thomas Humphrey Paget.

The legend engraved on George VI's coins is (without the abbreviations) GEORGIUS VI DEI GRATIA BRITANNIARUM OMNIUM REX FIDEI DEFENSOR INDIAE IMPERATOR, that means George VI by the grace of God King of the British, defender of faith and emperor of the Indies. In 1949, the legend IND:IMP (for the title of Emperor of India) disappears from English coins since British India becomes independent and divides itself into three countries : India, Pakistan, and Burma (Union of Myanmar).

Opposite, the second effigy of George VI, with crowned head, used in some British colonies and Commonwealth countries.

The legend for these colonial coins is very variable, it can be GEORGE VI KING EMPEROR, or KING GEORGE THE SIXTH, or GEORGIUS SEXTUS REX (George six King ) or GEORGIUS VI REX ET INDIAE IMPERATOR (George VI King and Emperor of India).

 

Different effigies on Elizabeth's II period coins

The first effigy of Queen Elizabeth II (created by Gillick) was used on English coins from 1953 to 1967.

The legend engraved on Elizabeth's II coins is (without the abbreviations) ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA FIDEI DEFENSTRIX, that means Elizabeth II by the grace of God Queen and defender of faith.

The second effigy of Queen Elizabeth II (created by Arnold Machin in 1964) was struck on British coins from 1965 to 1989.

The third effigy of Queen Elizabeth II (created by Raphael Maklouf, sometimes called "Mature Queen's portrait") was engraved on British and Commonwealth coins from 1985 to 1998.

The fourth effigy of Queen Elizabeth II (designed by Ian Rank-Broadley, IRB) appeared for the first time in 1998 on British coins. It is still used nowadays.
For the Commonwealth, a fifth effigy is to be seen, used from 1954 until now (for example for coins circullating in Belize), Queen Elizabeth II is shown young, wearing England's crown.
There is a special effigy for Canada : a head of Elizabeth II without crown. This effigy can be found on the obverse of all actual Canadian coins.

 

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