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The earliest known Royal Mint portrait of Queen Elizabeth II

Mr_ColomboMr_Colombo Posts: 42 ✭✭✭
edited December 29, 2023 4:40PM in World & Ancient Coins Forum

Upon the death of George VI on February 6, 1952, Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne. Among the gold prize medals bestowed, the King's Medal underwent a renaming to "Her Majesty the Queen's Medal." Flight Cadet Sergeant R.J. Bannard, a graduate of the Royal Air Force College Cranwell, received this medal on April 9, 1952, just 63 days after Elizabeth II's accession to the throne. There were a few other Queen's Medals awarded in 1952 for military achievement but I believe this to be the earliest.

This is where I hit a roadblock...

I am trying to research when the design was approved by the Royal Mint, or is this perhaps an earlier version of the final design. Is there any reference indicating when Mary Gillick completed her earliest plaster models featuring the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II or when the Royal Mint first produced Die Trial pieces? I would love to solve this mystery. Regardless, I'm grateful to be the custodian of this numismatic piece of history.


Comments

  • TomBTomB Posts: 20,613 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Fabulous medal and great history!

    Thomas Bush Numismatics & Numismatic Photography

    In honor of the memory of Cpl. Michael E. Thompson

    image
  • MrEurekaMrEureka Posts: 23,835 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Have you checked this out?

    Andy Lustig

    Doggedly collecting coins of the Central American Republic.

    Visit the Society of US Pattern Collectors at USPatterns.com.
  • jt88jt88 Posts: 2,781 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Very nice medal.

  • lordmarcovanlordmarcovan Posts: 43,194 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have no useful information to add, but It's a beautiful medal.


    Explore collections of lordmarcovan on CollecOnline, management, safe-keeping, sharing and valuation solution for art piece and collectibles.
  • Mr_ColomboMr_Colombo Posts: 42 ✭✭✭

    @MrEureka said:
    Have you checked this out?

    I have a PDF copy of the book, and there are likely some gaps in the timeline, with missing information regarding the design of her earliest plaster models.

    A few important dates:

    10 May: Posted a model to the Royal Mint

    21 May: Mary Gillick sat with the Queen

    15 July: Mary Gillick's medallic design was accepted by the Royal Mint Advisory Committee for use on medals.

  • 7Jaguars7Jaguars Posts: 7,185 ✭✭✭✭✭

    How then was your medal issued so many months earlier, or was the medal itself given out later on?
    BTW, it is in silver but the later Machin bust of QE II is best shown on her Jubilee medal issued for Smithsonian in 1977:

    Love that Milled British (1830-1960)
    Well, just Love coins, period.
  • ExbritExbrit Posts: 1,233 ✭✭✭✭

    Have you searched the national archives?

  • Mr_ColomboMr_Colombo Posts: 42 ✭✭✭

    @7Jaguars said:
    How then was your medal issued so many months earlier, or was the medal itself given out later on?
    BTW, it is in silver but the later Machin bust of QE II is best shown on her Jubilee medal issued for Smithsonian in 1977:

    Love the medal and the toning! Thats the mystery. Also, the nose on Queen Elizabeth II is slightly more aquiline than the coins that came out in 1953 or later issued Queen's Medals. Before production, there were multiple revisions made to the neckline and nose, it appears.

    This is one of several newspaper articles I came across that detail his award.

  • TomBTomB Posts: 20,613 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This might be way out there, but could the medal that was awarded in April have been essentially a placeholder until the the final medal was complete? I realize you have an image from a newspaper in April, but that image certainly appears to have been manipulated prior to publication if you look at how the hands are outlined.

    Thomas Bush Numismatics & Numismatic Photography

    In honor of the memory of Cpl. Michael E. Thompson

    image
  • Mr_ColomboMr_Colombo Posts: 42 ✭✭✭

    @Exbrit said:
    Have you searched the national archives?

    No luck with the archives, I couldn't even find anything related to Mary Gillick. I will see if I can make contacts with someone in the Royal Mint and the British Museum.

  • ExbritExbrit Posts: 1,233 ✭✭✭✭

    @Mr_Colombo said:

    @Exbrit said:
    Have you searched the national archives?

    No luck with the archives, I couldn't even find anything related to Mary Gillick. I will see if I can make contacts with someone in the Royal Mint and the British Museum.

    Did you check the archives in Kew?

  • Mr_ColomboMr_Colombo Posts: 42 ✭✭✭

    @Exbrit said:

    @Mr_Colombo said:

    @Exbrit said:
    Have you searched the national archives?

    No luck with the archives, I couldn't even find anything related to Mary Gillick. I will see if I can make contacts with someone in the Royal Mint and the British Museum.

    Did you check the archives in Kew?

    Yes, nothing showed up in www.nationalarchives.gov.uk. I will give other keywords a try, thanks.

  • OrlenaOrlena Posts: 300 ✭✭✭

    Great medals- just curious did this come from a UK dealer?

  • 7Jaguars7Jaguars Posts: 7,185 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have correspondence from RM Museum and will see if I can send you that if you don't have it.

    Love that Milled British (1830-1960)
    Well, just Love coins, period.
  • @7Jaguars said:
    I have correspondence from RM Museum and will see if I can send you that if you don't have it.

    That would be greatly appreciated, I don't have any contacts with them.

  • 7Jaguars7Jaguars Posts: 7,185 ✭✭✭✭✭

    See your PM.

    Love that Milled British (1830-1960)
    Well, just Love coins, period.
  • No, I didn't purchase it via a UK dealer. I'm sure it would of cost an arm and a leg.

  • ExbritExbrit Posts: 1,233 ✭✭✭✭

    PM sent

  • SapyxSapyx Posts: 1,966 ✭✭✭✭✭

    On the discussion about he portrait, I would assume that no medal could have been physically struck without the bureaucracy's approval of the design, given on 15th July. So I would assume that the medal winner would have been told the new medals weren't ready yet, and presented with an empty box or maybe just a scroll at the ceremony on 9th April, with the actual physical medal supplied months later, once it had been struck.

    No need for the press to know there wasn't a physical medal ready yet, though.

    Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.
    Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, "Meditations"

    Apparently I have been awarded one DPOTD. B)
  • Mr_ColomboMr_Colombo Posts: 42 ✭✭✭
    edited January 6, 2024 6:04PM

    @TomB said:
    This might be way out there, but could the medal that was awarded in April have been essentially a placeholder until the the final medal was complete? I realize you have an image from a newspaper in April, but that image certainly appears to have been manipulated prior to publication if you look at how the hands are outlined.

    After doing some more research and getting opinions from subject matter experts it appears the prize medal was conferred in 1952 and was officially awarded in 1953. The tone and image do look off but I doubt it was manipulated. I found another article (below) and it is essentially captures the same moment but from opposite sides.

  • Mr_ColomboMr_Colombo Posts: 42 ✭✭✭

    Thanks to all who reached out. I was able to glean a bit of information from the Royal Mint Museum archives and found some answers on the Queen's Medal.

    There were Six Royal Prize medals issued in 1952 with King George VI obverse. (Archives do not specify gold or silver).

    There were a total of 49 Royal Prize medals issued in 1953 with Queen Elizabeth ll obverse. Among these specimens, 41 were made of gold. It is presumed that various awards dated 1952 are also included in this total count of 49 medals.

    Flight Cadet Sergeant R.J. Bannard was conferred the Queen's Medal in April of 1952 , but was not awarded the prize until the following year. The Royal Air Force College Cranwell was the first graduating class to receive the Queen's commission as military officers and Bannard was likely the first military officer to be recognized by EIIR.


  • 7Jaguars7Jaguars Posts: 7,185 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Well good on your persistence & regardless a very attractive medal. What are the specs on that?

    Love that Milled British (1830-1960)
    Well, just Love coins, period.
  • Mr_ColomboMr_Colombo Posts: 42 ✭✭✭

    @7Jaguars said:
    Well good on your persistence & regardless a very attractive medal. What are the specs on that?

    It is 44mm and 9ct gold. The edge is engraved with the recipients name.

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