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A high relief, frosted cameo portrait of King George VI graces this gem, in the tradition of the finest medallic art!
Here's the fourth in a new and innovative Vignettes of Royalty Series from the Royal Canadian Mint, honoring the monarchs who have appeared on Canadian specie over the past two centuries. The series consists of five silver proofs and a copper medal. Each silver proof features two portraits, one on each side - make each a double-headed coin! The historical portrait is taken directly from the circulating coinage of the era and is struck in ultra high relief. The beauty of this high relief, medallic-style silver proof must truly be seen in person to be fully appreciated. The six monarchs are:
King Edward VII
King George V
King George VI
Queen Elizabeth II
King Edward VIII (Copper Medal)
Complete 5-Coin Silver Proof Set
Click here for all the coins in the Vignettes of Royalty series!
George VI's Reign
King George VI was born Albert Frederick Arthur George in 1895. Although his reign lasted barely 15 years and he died before the age of sixty, he presided over an eventful, turbulent time in British history, assuming the throne upon his brother's abdication, presiding over the island nation during the Second World War, and becoming the last Emperor of India and last King of Ireland, as well as the first head of the British Commonwealth.
As the second son of King George V, George (known formally as Prince Albert) was not expected to inherit the throne and spent his early life in the shadow of his elder brother, Edward. He served in the Royal Navy during World War I, and after the war took on the usual round of public engagements. He married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in 1923, and they had two daughters, Elizabeth (who succeeded him as Queen Elizabeth II) and Margaret.
At the death of his father in 1936, the future George VI's brother ascended the throne as Edward VIII. However, less than a year later Edward expressed his desire to marry the twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson. For political and religious reasons, the British Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, advised Edward that he could not marry Mrs. Simpson and remain king. So, Edward abdicated in order to marry. By reason of this abdication, unique in the history of the British Isles (previous abdications were forced by military or political pressures), George VI ascended the throne as the third monarch of the House of Windsor.
Within twenty-four hours of his accession the Irish parliament, the Oireachtas, passed the External Relations Act, which essentially removed the power of the monarch in Ireland. Further events greatly altered the position of the monarchy during his reign: three years after his accession, his realms, except Ireland, were at war with Nazi Germany. In the next two years, war with Italy and the Empire of Japan followed.
When war broke out in 1939, George VI and his wife resolved to stay in London and not flee to Canada, as had been suggested. The King and Queen officially stayed in Buckingham Palace throughout the war, although they usually spent nights at Windsor Castle to avoid bombing raids. George VI and Queen Elizabeth narrowly avoided death when two German bombs exploded in a courtyard at Buckingham Palace while they were there. Both took a very active part in the war effort, effectively boosting morale on the home front.
A major consequence of World War II was the decline of the British Empire, with the United States and the Soviet Union rising as pre-eminent world powers. With the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947, and the foundation of the Republic of Ireland in 1949, King George's reign saw the acceleration of the break-up of the British Empire and its transition into the Commonwealth of Nations.
The stress of the war had taken its toll on the King's health, exacerbated by his heavy smoking and subsequent development of lung cancer and other ailments, including arteriosclerosis. Increasingly his daughter Princess Elizabeth, the heiress presumptive, took on more royal duties as her father's health deteriorated. In September 1951, George VI underwent a pneumonectomy where his left lung was removed following the discovery of a malignant tumor.
On 31 January 1952, despite advice from those close to him, he went to the airport to see off Princess Elizabeth, who was going on a tour of Australia via Kenya. Before takeoff he reportedly said to Elizabeth's childhood nanny who was accompanying her on the trip, "Take care of Lilibet for me". On 6 February, George VI died from a coronary thrombosis in his sleep at Sandringham House in Norfolk, at the age of 56. His daughter Elizabeth flew back to Britain from Kenya, and succeeded him as Queen Elizabeth II.
Classic Canadian Coinage
The portrait of King George VI reproduced on this coin was used on all denominations of Canadian coinage (1-, 5- 10- 25- and 50 cents, as well as silver dollars) issued during his reign, from 1937 to 1952. The silver dollar seen here was issued to commemorate the royal visit to Canada. In 1939, George VI (along with his wife, Queen Elizabeth) became the first reigning monarch to visit Canada.
The King George VI $15 Ultra High Relief Silver Proof is the fourth issue in the Vignettes of Royalty Series, which commemorates the monarchs who have appeared on the circulation coins of Canada since the 1800s. The individual portrait of each monarch is struck in medallic art relief and is taken from designs that were minted on actual Canadian coins of the era.
Click here for the other coins in the Vignettes of Royalty series!
Here's a coin with a lot of investment potential, to say nothing of cachet! The Vignettes of Royalty Series features two firsts:
1) It's the first series of ultra high relief Canadian coins!
2) It's the first series of double-effigy coins in Canadian history!
That is, these are the first double headed coins struck by the Royal Canadian Mint! Couple these firsts with the very low mintage of only 10,000 and the unusual $15 denomination, and this looks like a sure winner.
Click here for more great coin-on-coin designs!
The Royal Canadian Mint is applying its expertise in the design, engraving and striking of medals and medallic art to this special series of coins. Each will feature a portrait struck in ultra high medallic relief. Each planchet or blank is individually hand-polished before it is quadruple-struck. The edge of the coin is plain, not reeded, unlike most Canadian commemorative and collector coins, in keeping with its medallic nature. Slight differences in the frosted cameo relief and proof-like fields are normal for this high-relief striking process, just as they are with high relief medals.
Click here for more stunning medals and medallic art!
An ultra high relief, frosted cameo crowned portrait of King George VI of Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Emperor of India, facing left. The legend GEORGIVS VI, the date and the denomination are also indicated.
ReverseA frosted cameo portrait of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II of England, in profile facing right. This portrait, the fourth effigy of the queen to appear on Canadian coinage, was executed by the artist Susanna Blunt. The legend ELIZABETH II D. G. REGINA ("Elizabeth II, Queen by the Grace of God") also appears.
The coin is encapsulated inside an elegant, burgundy leatherette, clamshell-style presentation case lined with black velvet and protected by a black outer box. An individually-numbered certificate of authenticity is included.
|Year of Issue||2009|
|Face Value||15 Dollars|
|Finish||Frosted Cameo Relief on a Proof-Like Field|
|Composition||.925 Fine (Sterling) Silver|