Queen's new portrait for coins revealed in first change since 1998

It's the fifth different portrait of the Queen to be used

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The Independent Online

A new portrait of the Queen set to appear on coins this has been unveiled at a ceremony at London’s National Portrait Gallery this morning.

It is the fifth coin portrait to have been created during the Queen’s reign and is the first update since 1998.

The portrait, that shows a side profile of the Queen wearing the Royal Diamond crown worn at her coronation and drop earrings, was chosen by a closed competition commissioned by the Royal Mint Advisory Committee. Several artists were invited to submit designs anonymously, before illustrator Jody Clark’s design was chosen by the committee.

Clark was 33 when his design was selected and this makes him the youngest of the five designers to have created the portraits of the Queen that have appeared on coins during her 63 year reign.

The portrait that we've been used to seeing since 1998

Though the design will begin being struck on coins today, we are unlikely to see many begin to filter through into people’s change particularly soon as new coins tend to be delivered to cash centres and banks in the first instance.

Clark said at the ceremony: “I really liked the four previous coin portraits; each one is strong in its own way. I hope I’ve done Her Majesty justice and captured her as I intended, in a fitting representation.

“The news that my design has been chosen was quite overwhelming and I still can’t quite believe that my royal portrait will be featured on millions of coins, playing a small part in the Royal Mint’s 1000-year history.”

The date of the unveiling of the new portrait was set to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of sculptor Mary Gillick, the first artist to capture the Queen’s portrait for the nation’s coins.

The original image, issued in 1953, depicted the Queen wearing a wreath of laurel, rather than the crown we are used to seeing today.

The five definitive coin portraits, (L-R) The Mary Gillick portrait 1953, The Raphael Maklouf portrait 1985, The new Jody Clark portrait, The Ian Rank-Broadley portrait 1968 and The Arnold Machin portrait are displayed at the National Portrait Gallery in London

Adam Lawrence, chief executive of the Royal Mint, said: “This change of royal portrait will make 2015 a vintage year for UK coins, and it will be hugely exciting for us all to see how the new design appears on the coins we use every day.”

There were estimated to be around 28.9 billion UK coins in circulation at 31 March last year, with a total face value of over £4 billon.

Existing coins will remain in circulation until they are natural recycled due to wear and tear, generally when they are around 20 to 25 years old, and their use will not be affected by the new portrait.