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A Royal Tribute in Gold: The $23 Million Coin for Queen Elizabeth II

06.09.2023 08:05 AM
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A Royal Tribute in Gold: The $23 Million Coin for Queen Elizabeth II
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A Royal Tribute in Gold: The $23 Million Coin for Queen Elizabeth II

Crafted from nearly 8 pounds of gold and adorned with a staggering 6,426 diamonds, a newly revealed coin dedicated to commemorating Queen Elizabeth II's life has the potential to become one of the most valuable coins in history. Its creator has estimated its worth at approximately $23 million.

This exceptional piece, unveiled just days before the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's passing, is a commemorative coin, though it is not recognized as legal tender in the UK (even though the coins within the design have valid denominations). The coin was produced by the East India Company, a luxury brand with the rights to the name of the historic corporation that once had significant influence over the British Empire.

Named "The Crown," this masterpiece is described as an "objet d’art" by the company. To put its value in perspective, the current Guinness World Record for the most expensive coin sold at auction is held by a rare 1933 US "Double Eagle," which fetched $18.9 million at Sotheby’s New York in June 2021.

With a diameter exceeding 9.6 inches, larger than an NBA-regulation basketball, this coin comprises nearly a dozen 24-carat gold coins surrounded by beds of diamonds. The central coin weighs over 2 pounds, while the smaller ones, featuring portraits of the late monarch or depictions of virtues like truth, justice, and courage, each weigh 1 ounce.

 
 

One side of the coin showcases thousands of diamonds arranged to resemble the UK’s flag, while the reverse side is inspired by the late queen’s tiaras. The East India Company attributes its multi-million-dollar valuation to the high-quality materials and craftsmanship involved, with artisans and experts from various countries, including the UK, India, Singapore, Germany, and Sri Lanka.

It's worth noting that the East India Company, which originally operated for nearly three centuries before its dissolution in 1874, was acquired by Indian-born businessman Sanjiv Mehta in 2005. He transformed it into a lifestyle brand that sells luxury items such as jewelry, homeware, and commemorative coins, all designed to capture historical moments for contemporary enthusiasts and future generations.

"The Crown" was a year-long endeavor, initiated before Queen Elizabeth's passing. It was produced in partnership with the British Overseas Territory of St Helena, with coin designs fully approved by the territory’s Government and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II herself prior to her passing. This process was meticulously managed by the Royal Household and the Royal, Ceremonial, and Honours Unit (RCHU) at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Speaking about the coin, Mehta emphasized the extraordinary effort put into honoring Queen Elizabeth, referring to her as "the queen of the Earth." He noted the immense number of man hours required to set around 6,500 stones on this remarkable piece, especially given his family's background in the diamond industry.

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