Does the UK now have a new Five Guinea Coin? That’s the question collectors have been asking since the Royal Mint’s revelation this morning of a brand new and very unusual £5 coin to commemorate the Queen’s historic milestone as Britain’s longest ever reigning monarch.
Both sides of the coin feature new commemorative designs, with a new effigy of Her Majesty on the obverse and the Coronation Crown she wore in 1953 as the principal focus of the reverse.
Double commemorative designs like this are not unusual for the £5 coin – for example, the recent 2012 Diamond Jubilee £5 Coin.
But what has surprised and confused collectors is an apparent double denomination which is unprecedented on a British coin.
The usual denomination ‘Five Pounds’ appears alongside the Queen’s portrait as it has done since the very first £5 coin in 1990. The unexpected addition is the wording ‘One Crown’ on the reverse.
Return of the Crown
The Crown denomination was first introduced in the 16th century during the reign of Henry VIII, and had a value of Five Shillings. It retained that value right up until decimalisation in 1971 when it was re-tariffed to its new decimal equivalent of 25 pence.
A total of four ’25 pence’ coins were issued between 1972 and 1981 although interestingly the new decimal denomination was never actually used on the coins and they have always been known as ‘Crowns’ owing to their identical size.
In fact historically, the denomination ‘Crown’ has very rarely appeared on the coin itself, and the words ‘One Crown’ never have, which adds even more confusion over its inclusion in the Royal Mint’s latest issue.
Whilst the new coin has an official face value of £5, the extra “One Crown” wording suggests a total face value of £5.25 – the equivalent of 5 Guineas. So perhaps the new Longest Reigning Monarch Coin will become known to collectors as Britain’s New 5 Guinea Coin?
At the moment, all we can be sure of is that the unusual nature of this coin means it will be a numismatic curiosity for many years to come.
You can reserve one of these new £5 coins today – simply click here to secure your UK Longest Reigning Monarch £5 now.