The British Monarchs range will feature 21 coins over five years and will span four Royal Houses – Tudor; Stuart; Hanover; Saxe-Coburg, Gotha, and Windsor – remastering iconic designs in high definition for the first time thanks to the latest technology and minting techniques. The reverse of the latest coin features a coinage portrait of James I from circa 1604-1619, while the obverse features Jody Clark’s definitive portrait of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
The seventeenth-century monarch appears on this new coin in the same classic design that would have featured on the coins of the Jacobean era. Whilst the design first appeared on British coinage more than 400 years ago, this coinage portrait has been faithfully recreated as close to the original as possible using state-of-the-art technology.
Much like Tudor coinage, fishtailing is a common defect on Stuart coins, where you get a slight distortion at the bottom of letters created by the pressure of a die on the metal which in turn causes an outward flow. Also characteristic of this period is flatter surface area on the blanks which allow for a more polished finish and showcase and improvement in minting technologies compared to the hammered coins of the earlier period. These characteristics have been faithfully recreated in the new James I portrait design.
Rebecca Morgan, Director of Collector Services at The Royal Mint said: “There is strong appeal for collectors with this coin series. There are very few high-quality examples of coinage from the Stuart period, and they are coveted by collectors for their iconic design and rarity and the effigies have been faithfully recreated in fine detail using state-of-the-art technology and numismatic processes. People love to collect the coins of different monarchs, and this series gives the chance for collectors to add key monarchs to complete their collections.”
The Stuarts were the first kings of the United Kingdom. King James VI of Scotland also became King James I of England, thus combining the two thrones for the first time. The Stuart dynasty reigned in England and Scotland from 1603 to 1714, a period which saw a flourishing Court culture but also much upheaval and instability, of plague, fire and war.
Speaking about the design, Gordon Summers, Chief Engraver at The Royal Mint said: “As you move out of the Tudor period, we start getting coins struck in collars, so they were perfectly round. As a result, there is a marked difference between the quality of Tudor coins and Stuart coins. However, there is still fishtailing on Stuart coins, where you get a slight curve at the bottom of the letter. They would have tried their best at the time, but it wouldn’t have been perfect, so we’ve made a conscious effort to reproduce the coins in this manner.”
The first coin in the collection launched in January and featured Henry VII, founder of the Tudor dynasty, who reigned from 1485 to 1509. The first coin of the series sold out within hours demonstrating how popular historic monarchs are with collectors.
Rebecca Morgan added: “The remastered James I coin has been produced to the highest modern striking standards but retains features which honour its unique history. In an advancement from the hammered coins of the Tudor period, the coinage of the Stuart era reflects improvements in portrait engraving and the use of master punches to repeat portraits on individual dies. The table surface of the coin is flatter which allows for a polished finish which is reflected in the new coin.”
In addition to these individual coins, The Royal Mint will also be releasing a limited number of sets combining new and historic coins. These limited-edition sets will feature a British Monarchs coin alongside a genuine historical coin from the era of that respective monarch.
To find out more about the British Monarchs series and hear from numismatic experts at The Royal Mint, you can view the ‘British Monarchs – History in the Remaking’ webinar here. For more information about the James I 2022 coins please visit The Royal Mint website.