On Thursday April 2nd, Her Royal Majesty the Queen will undertake the ancient Royal Maundy Money ritual for the 60th time since her accession to the throne in 1952. This year, the ceremony will take place at Sheffield’s C of E Cathedral.
NB: This blog was posted in 2015
Royal Mint Maundy money continues to celebrate first coinage portrait of Her Majesty The Queen
*The Royal Mint recently revealed the new fifth coinage portrait of The Queen which will be struck on new UK coins – but there is one very special set of coins issued this year that won’t reflect that change in our change. Unlike ordinary circulating coinage, the Royal Maundy coins will continue to bear the portrait of The Queen prepared by Mary Gillick for the first coins of her reign.
Each year The Royal Mint produces a limited number of these coins for distribution by the monarch. The one, two, three and four pence coins are all legal tender, but these specially made silver coins are not intended for everyday use. Today’s recipients of Royal Maundy, as many elderly men and women as there are years in the sovereign’s age, are chosen because of the service they have given to their parish and community. This year the hand-picked group of 89 men and 89 women from the Sheffield area will each receive two leather pouches (one white and one red) from The Queen during the Royal Maundy service.
The white purse will contain Maundy coins to the value of The Queen’s age (89 pence at present), while the red purse will contain a £5 and a 50p coin. There have been just five official UK definitive coin portraits created during The Queen’s 63 year reign, the most recent portrait created by The Royal Mint designer Jody Clark.
Sculptor Mary Gillick designed the first coinage portrait of The Queen which appeared on the coins of the UK and some commonwealth countries from 1953 until the preparations for decimalisation began in 1968. Gillick’s portrait portrays The Queen wearing a wreath on her head and was considered to be fresh, evocative and reflective of the nation’s optimism as it greeted a new monarch in the post-war years.
Graham Dyer OBE, Senior Research Curator in the Royal Mint Museum, first joined The Royal Mint in 1961 and is the sole remaining employee from The Mint’s days at Tower Hill in London.
He says, “The Mary Gillick image is charming and conveys hope, but by the time decimalisation came along in 1968 it was decided to commission a new portrait, to avoid any confusion between the old £sd coins and the new decimal ones, so the Machin portrait was selected. I am particularly fond of the Mary Gillick head for its fresh portrayal of the beautiful young Queen; it is believed that the Queen and Prince Philip like the Gillick head too, which is one of the reasons why it has been retained as the portrait that is still seen on Maundy Money, the coins that are given to as many elderly men and women as there are years in the sovereign’s age, every year on Maundy Thursday.”
Clicking HERE will also give you more information on Maundy Money
2013 Maundy Money
In 2013 my friend received Maundy Money and I made a blog post, now lost. However, I have retrieved a little and include it here.
… we retired indoors and Anne made a welcome coffee. It was during the conversation that Graham left and returned with bottle of Rioja (that he forced upon me) and a number of coins he wanted me to see. I instantly recognised them as Maundy Money. On Maundy Thursday, 28 March, I had featured them in my Blog, so I must have sounded very knowledgeable on the subject.
I’m sure that many of you know that every year on this day, the Queen attends a Royal Maundy service in one of the many cathedrals throughout the country. Maundy money is distributed to male and female pensioners from local communities near the Cathedral where the Service takes place.
This year the Royal Maundy Service was at Christ Church cathedral in Oxford and as usual the queen presented the traditional coins to those pensioners who have worked tirelessly for their communities. Within Oxford’s ancient Christ Church cathedral, the Queen handed out the famous red and white purses of money to 87 women and 87 men – as she is now in her 87th year.
Graham was one of them. He proudly showed me the red purse containing a £5 coin and 50p coin commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation in 1953. The white purse carried the famous Maundy money, silver 1p, 2p, 3p and 4p pieces – equal to 87p, again marking the Queen’s 87th year.
I had never seen modern Maundy money and was thrilled when Graham allowed me to take photographs to show you.