Off with his/her head

I see that the Royal Australian Mint is considering a general overhaul of Australia’s coinage.  Now, I reckon that the most dangerous job in the world must be The Depictor of the Queen’s Jowls.  We started off with a yoof-ful Queen in 1953, then every 10 or 20 years there’s an update.  Just how would you present the Queen with these depictions of increasing decrepitude?  Present them early in the morning before she’d worked up her grumpiness for the day?  Perhaps slip them to her late at night after a G&T or two?  Would you make a selection of jowls and ask her to select one?

Apparently there have been five depictions of the Queen on the obverse of Australian coins.  In 1953, the year of the Queen’s coronation,  the effigywas designed by Mary Gillick. ‘Effigy’ is the Royal Mint’s term, not mine.  I thought that an effigy was something you burnt.


Gillick design 1953

My! She’s looking very French Revolutionary there.  Or perhaps Greek Goddess.  Then, with the introduction of decimal currency in 1966 a new effigy designed by Arnold Machin was used.  Apparently her portrait always faces to the right to conform with a convention, started with Charles II that the new monarch’s portrait would face in the opposite to their predecessors.  As well it might in his case.

Machin design 1966

Machin design 1966

The Machin image was designed for the British Royal Mint, and approved in 1964.  It did nearly 20 years service until the new Raphael Maklouf design was used in 1985.  Apparently 17 artists were invited to submit designs, and a set by Maklouf was selected. (Wonder what happened to the other 16 designers?)  A ‘revised’ model was accepted by the Queen for circulation.

Raphael Maklouf design 1985

Raphael Maklouf design 1985

The Ian Rank-Broadley design of 1988 is a brave one.  Is that a hint of jowl we detect?   She only had a choice of three designers this time!

Ian Rank-Broadley 1988

Ian Rank-Broadley 1988

And then, finally, an even braver man- Vladimir Gottwald. This design is only seen on the Royal Visit 50 cent coin.   He’s our very own man this time- the first Australian designer since Sir Edgar Bertram Mackennal to have his design on the observe of an Australian coin.  Do you like her crown?  It’s called “Girls of Great Britain and Ireland” , a wedding gift from Queen Mary in 1947.  Good to see that the old “girl” is bringing out the old stuff.

Vladimir Gottwald 2000

Vladimir Gottwald 2000

And so, a new Queen effigy perhaps?   A poisoned chalice if ever there was one, I reckon….

Some old Queens might serve as inspiration….



One response to “Off with his/her head

  1. You are naughty. Lèse majesté.

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