The Queen's New Coin Portrait: Alternative Designs For A 21st Century Monarch

02/03/2015 15:43 | Updated 02 March 2015

To commemorate a new portrait of The Queen being released for UK coins, The Huffington Post UK has commissioned six young designers to create their own vision of The Queen's coin portrait for the 21st century.

The new coin is the fifth portrait that has been designed during the Queen's 63-year reign, and the first new picture since 1998. It shows her in a classic profile pose, wearing a crown and drop earrings.

But perhaps, given Elizabeth II sent her first tweet recently, we need something more radical and up-to date.

HuffPost UK asked designers at advertising agencies Doner, M&C Saatchi London and Omobono to design a series of coins to give Her Majesty a modern twist for 2015 - including a Queen selfie, hipster queen and even a digital Bitcoin queen.

  • Austerity Britain
    Matt Roach & David Lawrie
    "With all the budgets cuts being made by the British government, even Lizzie has had to flog the family silver (and is seen here without her crown)," say Matt Roach and David Lawrie of M&C Saatchi London. "The new coin will also be 50% smaller and made of salvaged scrap metal."
  • The Queen Selfie
    Vicky Behun
    Doner's Vicky Behun, the designer, says: "What’s more 2015 than a Royal Selfie? Forget those plain head shots - if Kim Kardashian can do it, why not ER?"
  • Digi Queen
    Matt Ireland
    "A digital treatment/image overlay," comments designer Matt Ireland, a senior creative at Omobono, "moving the monarchy into the digital era."
  • The QR Coin
    Vicky Behun
    Designer Vicky Behun from Doner explains: "Now the Queen can update her image everyday, via the magic of the internet. Our QR code currently links to her Wikipedia, but could also link to an Instrgram account with different shot of Her Majesty every day."
  • Proud To Be British
    Matt Ireland
    Matt Ireland, from Omobono, made this design and says it's "a celebration of Britain, with a stylised illustration of The Queen, making her feel personal and real – not stuck up."
  • The Hipster Queen
    Vicky Behun
    "London, home to Buckingham Palace, is the centre of fashion and culture. The Queen has always been in fashion - so we rebranded the Queen in this hipster-styled headshot," says Vicky Behun of Doner.
  • Queenstagram
    William Grave and Yury Vorobev
    #RoyalSelfie. Creators William Grave and Yury Vorobev from M&C Saatchi London think: "With the Pope on Twitter, isn’t it about time the Queen had her own Instagram account?"
  • The Royal Bitcoin
    Vicky Behun
    "Metal. Who needs it? It's a digital world now and a Royal Bitcoin is a great move forward," says designer Vicky Behun from Doner. "The Royal Mint will thank us for saving them all that work."
  • Make The Queen Pop
    Matt Ireland
    "A modern, bright iconic treatment to make the monarchy up to date and funky" says Matt Ireland from Omobono.

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

Chief engraver at the Royal Mint Gordon Summers described the design task for today's new coin as "probably one of the most difficult things for any artist or sculptor to do".

Clark, the designer, said: "I hope that I've done Her Majesty justice and captured her as I intended, in a fitting representation. The news that my design had 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 1,000-year history."


The Queen's first coin portrait from 1953 [left] and today's new version

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