The Royal Mint launches the first in a five-year series of updated historical designs called the British Monarchs Collection

This is one of those releases we always look forward to. The Royal Mint has debuted a new multi-year programme of coins tapping into Britain’s rich history, in the same vein as recent numismatic hits like the Queen’s Beasts, the Tudor Beasts, and the Great Engravers series. They almost always exhibit sky-high standards of design and execution, and this latest five-year, 21-coin series, looks to be no exception.

Called the ‘British Monarchs Collection’, it will span the Royal Houses of Tudor, Stuart, Hanover, and finally the current mob, Saxe-Coburg, Gotha & Windsor. The aim of this range is to reproduce in ‘high definition’, basically taking original coins back to an idealised look, as if freshly struck with more detail. A selection of four silver (1, 2, 5, 10 oz) and three gold coins (1, 2, 5 oz) will make up the range, all carrying the same design, and all with a proof finish.

First to launch is the Tudor king, Henry VII, the last British monarch to seize the throne on a battlefield, back in 1485. He introduced quite a few policies aimed at stabilising the economy, and of particular importance here, was the first king to attempt a realistic portrait on his coinage. The coin used by the Royal Mint for reproduction, a Groat, is one that dates from around 1504. Henry’s coins before this date carried a frontal portrait, rather than the side effigy we use today, and is seen here. Indeed, one of those earlier frontal portrait coins was found in Canada a couple of months ago, and may be the oldest English coin yet found in North America.

It’s a beautiful coin, expertly reproducing the essence of the 1504 coin, including all the little flaws that highlight the original’s hand-struck nature. Done with obvious reverence, we’re hopeful the entire series will grow into something very special. The highlight is a stunning two-coin set containing a two-ounce gold coin, along with an original 5.12 gram, Henry VII Gold Angel coin from the period. There will be only ten sets made available, each costing £10,500. This brings us to our only real complaint, and as usual, it’s one of value. Only one of the seven coins is (just) under £100, and the smallest gold runs £2,370. If you want to engage newer collectors, we’re going to need some more offerings at the lower end. Overall, however, a terrific debut.


In the year of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, The Royal Mint has today announced a new commemorative coin series celebrating some of the most iconic kings and queens from the last 500 years of British history.

Rebecca Morgan, Director of Collector Services, said: “Henry VII was a numismatic innovator who took the time to commission the first realistic portrait of a British Monarch. It was important to Henry VII that his subjects could clearly see him, and we’ve been able to recreate his effigy in high definition for the first time on a UK coin. There are very few ‘fine’ examples of coinage from this period, and they are coveted by collectors for their iconic design and rarity. Being able to faithfully and accurately remaster this design on a new coin will allow more people to own and appreciate its beauty.”

The remastered Henry VII coin has been produced to the highest modern striking standards but retains features which honour its unique history. Coins of this period were hand struck using hammers by workers at the Mint in the Tower of London, and it was common for them to be ‘clipped’ by members of the public keen to secure small amounts of precious metal. This means the size and shape of coins could vary, and this has been reflected in the new edge design.

Gordon Summers, Chief Engraver at The Royal Mint, said: “When we began remastering this series, we wanted to retain the authenticity and beauty of the original – reflecting the best quality striking that the original engraver could only dream of achieving 500 years ago.”

“Naturally, coins from 500 years ago have experienced wear as they passed through the generations, were hand struck using hammers and were commonly ‘clipped’. All of these factors give the original coin irregularities, and it was important to reflect and celebrate that in the new design.”

“We digitised a high standard original coin using an extremely precise scanner, which gave us a really accurate model of the design. We then began to refine the surface, removing the damage and wear of centuries to deliver a coin which showcases Henry VII’s original effigy and historical features in high definition.”


COMPOSITION 0.9999 gold 0.9999 gold 0.9999 gold
WEIGHT 156.30 grams 62.42 grams 31.21 grams
DIMENSIONS 50.0 mm 40.0 mm 32.69 mm
MAX MINTAGE 81 195 610
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Yes / Yes
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver 0.999 silver 0.999 silver 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 312.59 grams 156.30 grams 62.86 grams 31.21 grams
DIMENSIONS 65.0 mm 65.0 mm 40.0 mm 38.61 mm
MAX MINTAGE 150 (LTD) 281 710 1,260
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Yes / Yes