Brought to you by Newscorp Australia

The Mint is updating the Queen’s image on Australian coins for the first time in 20 years

Rachel Baxendale, September 3, 2018 7:00PM The Australian

Print Article

An image of the first Australian coins to bear the new portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. media_cameraAn image of the first Australian coins to bear the new portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.


Reading level: green

Australian coins will feature a new effigy* of the Queen for the first time in 20 years. The Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove unveiled the new design yesterday.

The new effigy is just the sixth to feature on Australian coins since Elizabeth II’s coronation* in 1952 and the first since 1998.

On April 22, the day after the Queen’s 92nd birthday, Sir Peter announced Australia would use a new effigy on all circulating* and collector coins.

Coin media_cameraThe Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove officially launched the first Australian coins to bear the new effigy Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra.

The new effigy was designed by 37-year-old British engraver Jody Clark, who has worked at the UK’s Royal Mint since 2012.

In 2015, Mr Clark’s anonymous entry to a design competition was chosen to become the fifth coin portrait of the Queen to feature on British coins, which have been in circulation since 2015.

Mr Clark’s Australian design replaces an effigy by British sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley, which has been used on British, Australian and other Commonwealth coins since 1998.

Queen Elizabeth Coins media_cameraThe current effigy of the Queen, which will be on one side of new commemorative coins.
media_cameraThe new effigy of the Queen, which will be on the reverse side of special commemorative coins and on new coins in the future.

The Royal Australian Mint’s new commemorative coins, issued to mark the start of the use of the new effigy, feature Mr Clark’s design on one side and Mr Rank-Broadley’s on the other.

Sir Peter launched the new coins at a ceremony, alongside mint chief executive Ross MacDiarmid.

Mr Clark has been criticised on social media for depicting* the Queen’s advancing years.

Mr Rank-Broadley responded to similar criticism in 1998, saying he saw “no need to disguise the matureness of the Queen’s years”.

This short video was made in 2017, when the Queen was 91. She is now 92 years old


— Australian coins have the reigning* monarch* — Queen Elizabeth II — on one side. When coins are flipped, for instance for a coin toss at the start of a sports match, it is the side with the Queen on it that is the “heads” side.

— Since her coronation in 1953, five effigies of the Queen have appeared on the “heads” side of Australian coins. Previous effigies were designed by Mary Gillick (1953), Arnold Machin (1966), and Raphael Maklouf (1985). Since 1998, Australian coins have used the current effigy by Ian Rank-Broadley. During 2000, Royal Australian Mint designer Vladimir Gottwald’s effigy was used on the 50c Royal Visit coin.

— All the portraits of Queen Elizabeth II have faced to the right. This is a convention*, thought to have started with King Charles II (1660-1685), that each new Monarch’s portrait faces the direction opposite to that of their predecessor*.

— Designer Jody Clark works at The Royal Mint, which is in Wales in the UK. It is the UK government’s official maker of coins for the UK, but it also makes medals, plus coins for about 60 other countries. It makes about five billion coins a year. It has been operating — at different locations — for about 1100 years.

— The Royal Australian Mint is in Canberra and is the Australian government’s official maker of coins for Australia. It will make the new coins for Australia, but with Jody Clark’s effigy of the Queen on them. The Royal Australian Mint also makes medals, such as those for this year’s Commonwealth Games.


A new gold rush hits Australia

Mint releases $2 invictus coin

Kids need money, not tap and go

Treasure trove of 5600 historic coins unearthed

Queen honours young Australians


effigy: model or sculpture

coronation: ceremony to crown a king or queen

circulating: out in use in shops and the community

depicting: showing

reigning: ruling

monarch: king or queen

convention: the way it is done

predecessor: the one before



1. Who unveiled the new design?

2. How old is the Queen?

3. Who designed the new effigy?

4. What criticism has there been about using a new design?

5. Which way does the Queen face on coins? Why?


1. Coin familiarisation

Familiarise yourself with the effigy of the Queen and the other features of our coins by doing and answering the following:

Create a rubbing of both sides of a coin. To do this, place the coin beneath your sheet of paper and rub a crayon held sideways over the top of the coin so that its features show up on your paper.

What is the value of this coin?

Based on the year of this particular coin, can you identify who the effigy on it was designed by?

Describe the image on the “tails” side of the coin.

What shape and colour is the coin? Describe the pattern of the ridges around the edge of the coin.

Make a one sentence statement about the coin. For example: This 20 cent coin is larger in size than a 10 cent coin but smaller than a 50 cent coin.

Extra resources: A range of Australian currency coins, crayons

2. Extension: When you toss a coin the probability of it landing on “heads” (that is, with the Queen’s head facing up) is 1 in 2. This means that if you toss a coin 20 times, theoretically you should get 10 heads and 10 tails.

Test it out. Toss a coin and record the result. Repeat until you have completed 20 tosses. How many heads did you get and how many tails? Is this the result you expected? What can conclusions can you reach from this experiment?

Time: Allow 30 minutes

Curriculum links: English, Mathematics


The glossary of terms helps you to understand and learn the ambitious vocabulary being used in the article. Can you use the words outlined in the glossary to create new sentences? Challenge yourself to include other VCOP (vocabulary, connectives, openers and punctuation) elements in your sentence/s. Have another look through the article, can you find any other Wow Words not outlined in the glossary?

HAVE YOUR SAY: Do you think new coins should show the Queen getting older? Is it disrespectful to show her as an old lady? Use full sentences to explain your answer. No one-word answers.

Extra Reading in money