Collectors—or even mere admirers of Canadian Maple Leafs—know that while the reverse of Canada’s official bullion coin may change motifs over different mintages, their obverses are unchangeable: One portrait or another of the currently reigning monarch—since 1953, Queen Elizabeth II—resides on each coin’s obverse.
Canada, of couse, is not alone in this. Coins from Australia, New Zealand, and even the tiny Isle of Man share similar “heads.”
But, how has the Royal Canadian Mint handled the inevitable aging of the Queen over the years?
With its usual careful attention to detail, the RCM has portrayed on its Maple Leafs, Queen Elizabeth II’s effigy as she appeared during four periods of her reign. It may interest some to note that her immediate predecessor (both as monarch and on official coinage) was Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, the subject of the film “The KIng’s Speech.”
From 1953 through 1964, the regal profile of a 27-year old Elizabeth graced each Maple’s obverse, surrounded by the Latin for “Elizabeth II, by the grace of God, the Queen.”
Period the 2nd (1965-1989)
In 1965 the portrait of a 27-year-old monarch was replaced by a more mature 39-year-old, and the surrounding inscription shortened to, “Elizabeth II D G Regina.” This representation continues.
Period the 3rd (1990-2002)
The year 1990 saw the emergence of a 64-year-old, regal dowager, serene and secure in her Majesty and confident in her legacy. The Queen’s portrait, designed by Canadian Dora De Pédery-Hunt’s graced Canada’s currency through 2002.
Period the 4th (2003-Present)
In 2003, another Canadian artist—Susanna Blunt—saw her depiction of a 77-year-old Queen Elizabeth II appear on the obverse of each Canadian coin and paper-currency issue, continuing to this day.
Unlike the United States, which seems to reinvent itself every century or so, the British are proud of—some might say “tied” to—their traditions. And that may be why—although the face of the monarch might change over the decades—their “faces” will always be of Heads of State.
And, as Product Director for Goldmart.com (America’s Low-Cost Precious Metals Dealer™, I am proud to represent the Monarch—no matter her age or visage.