The government and Treasury of the British Virgin Islands have issued (24th January) a new coin that marks the 65th anniversary, or “Sapphire Jubilee,” of HM Queen Elizabeth II, who will herself mark the solemn occasion on the 6th February. Queen Elizabeth II acceded to the throne at the age of 25, upon the death of her father, King George VI, in 1952, and was proclaimed queen by her various privy and executive councils shortly afterward. At the time of her accession, the then-princess and her husband were in fact on their way to visit Australia on behalf of the ailing king. She was told of his death while on a stopover in Kenya and immediately made her way back to London, where she was greeted for the first time by her ministers as Queen Regnant. Her coronation took place more than a year later due to the tradition that holding such a festival is inappropriate during the period of mourning following the death of a monarch. In the ceremony itself, at Westminster Abbey, Elizabeth swore an oath to uphold the law and govern the Church of England.
The things which I have here before promised, I will perform and keep. So help me God.
The Queen’s coronation was the first major event to be broadcast on television, albeit against the advice of Sir Winston Churchill, prime minister at the time. The coronation was broadcast in both black-and-white and colour and was viewed by 27 million of the then-population of 36 million British subjects. Queen Elizabeth II became the longest-reigning monarch in 2015 when she surpassed her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria, who herself reigned for more than 63 years. The death of Thailand’s King Rama IX in October last year means Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and her Commonwealth Realms has now become the world’s longest-reigning monarch, and, at 90 years of age, she is the longest-living crowned head of state.
The 65th anniversary is associated with the gemstone sapphire—symbolic of loyalty, some say the stone bring inner peace and the fulfilment of dreams and prosperity. The colour associated with this anniversary is blue, symbolic of trust, peace, loyalty, and integrity, all characteristics you would expect in a sovereign.
The coin is produced by the Pobjoy Mint, United Kingdom, on behalf of the Treasury of the British Virgin Islands, and features portraits on both obverse and reverse. The Queen’s effigy—which is an exclusive design of the Pobjoy Mint—faces right in traditional (raised) relief on the obverse, which also has the traditional Proof finish (mirrored field with frosted devices). The obverse legend reads BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS and QUEEN ELIZABETH II 2017.
On the reverse, the Queen’s effigy faces left, and it is incused into the surface, which adds new levels of complexity to the striking process. To emphasise the incuse effect on the reverse, the coin is produced in Reverse Proof, meaning the frosted and Proof finishes are alternated. The denomination $10 is placed on the reverse under the Queen’s effigy, and the reverse legend reads HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II.
|$10||.999 silver||31.1 g||38.6 mm||Proof||1,952|
The strict mintage number of 1,952 pieces reflects the year of the Queen’s accession. The coin is protected by an acrylic capsule, set in a suede-effect insert and packaged in a custom red box with certificate of authenticity. For additional information on this and other coins issued by the government and Treasury of the British Virgin Islands, please visit the website of the Pobjoy Mint. ❑