The Australian Numismatic Society

    A Paper given at the June 2020 online Conference

The Portraits of Queen Elizabeth II on Australian Coins by Matthew Lloyd

This paper is based around a talk that I gave on the Portraits of Queen Elizabeth 11 on coins. This paper is about the 6 portraits of
the Queen since her Coronation.

She is the longest reigning monarch in the history of Britain and has now ruled for 68 years. She has been the monarch of Britain and her
Commonwealth since 1952.

In that 68 years, the portrait of the Queen has changed six times. The first image of the Queen appeared in 1953 when Australia was using
pounds shillings and pence or better know as the pre-decimal period and five in the decimal period which started in 1966 on the 14th February.
In 1965 , a currency act was brought into being which states that a image of the reigning monarch is to appear on the observe of all coins of the
Commonwealth of Australia.

The first portrait of the Queen is the one that was introduced in 1953 on all the coins of Australia was the portrait that was designed by Mary
Gillick and were used until 1964 on the ½ penny, penny and 3d and until 1963 on the 6d, 1/-, 2/- .
Mary Gillick won a contest that was conducted  by the Royal Mint advisory board. This design was her first work to appear on a coin.
She beat 16 others. The Queen is shown uncrowned and shows her as a young lady of 27, the age she came to the throne.

In 1966, on the 14th February, the first coins of the decimal era were introduced and this was the first of the 5 portrait designs to appear in the
decimal series. The designer was Arnold Machin.

His design lasted from 1966-1984. It was designed in 1964 by Arnold Machin for the Royal
Mint.   His portrait of the Queen was also used in 1968 when Britain started the process of decimalisation in
1968. It portrays her at about 38 years of age. This portrait, is my favourite portrait of the Queen.

The next image was introduced in 1985 and was designed by Raphael Maklouf.
It was selected by the Royal Mint in 1982 from a group of 38. 
A revised model was made and it was accepted by the Queen to be used on the coinage of the United Kingdom starting in 1985.  The design
was also adopted by Australia , they did not need to use the same design but choose to. The design was used from the 1st January 1985 until

It was replaced by the portrait of the Queen designed by Ian Rank-Broadley.

This portrait was chosen from various designers and engravers who submitted their work for selection by an invitation they had received in 1996.
It was used on some of the collector coins of 1998 but was not wildly used until 1999 and used until 2019.

The fifth Image was by Vadamir Gottwald.
  He was a  member of the Royal Australian Mint Design and Engraving Section. This portrait was one of three
submitted to the Queen to approve.  This designed was approved for the Royal Visit of 2000.
He became the first Australian since the designer Sir Edgar B Mackennal to have an obverse portrait design to appear on coins.
Sir Edgar B Mackennal had designed the portrait of her grand father King George the Fifth, that appears on coins of Australia of 1911 to 1936.

The 6th design was introduced on the coins of Australia in 2019. This current portrait of the Queen depicted on coins was designed by
Ms Jody Clark.
She is a Royal Mint Designer. A competition  was run by the Royal Mint Advisory Committee and has been used in the United Kingdom
since 2015 on their coins.

The Clark image that appears on the Australian coins, is the Commonwealth image and depicts the Victorian Coronation Necklace as well as
her shoulders which the British design does not. It was revealed in September 2018 and not used until 2019.

All previous designs are legal tender and will circulate with the current design. The tradition of the new monarch facing the opposite position of
their predecessor was kept. The Queen faces right. This tradition was first introduced in the reign of Charles 11 (1660-1685) when he did not
want to face the same way as Oliver Cromwell. This tradition has been kept ever since.

You can contact me at the following email address
Information from the Royal Australian Mint Website
The last photo is from the RAM. The rest of the photographs come from my collection.

Return to Library

Return to ANS Main Page

21st June 2020