The Royal Mint has announced today it will release a new commemorative coin series celebrating some of the most iconic kings and queens from the last 500 years of British history.

The collection will span four Royal Houses – Tudor; Stuart; Hanover; Saxe-Coburg, Gotha, and Windsor. It will remaster iconic designs in high definition for the first time thanks to the latest technology and minting techniques.

The first coin in the collection features Henry VII, founder of the Tudor dynasty, who reigned from 1485 to 1509. The Royal Mint’s Chief Engraver, Gordon Summers, has recreated the effigy in fine detail using state-of-the-art technology and numismatic processes.

Henry VII’s reign was a milestone for British coins as he took the time and effort to create the first realistic portrait of a monarch on English coins and set a new standard.

The reverse of the coin, commonly known as the ‘tails side’, features a coinage portrait of Henry VII from circa 1504, while the obverse features Jody Clark’s definitive portrait of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

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Rebecca Morgan, Director of Collector Services said: “Henry VII was a numismatic innovator who took the time to commission the first realistic portrait of a British Monarch. It was important to Henry VII that his subjects could clearly see him, and we’ve been able to recreate his effigy in high definition for the first time on a UK coin.

“There are very few ‘fine’ examples of coinage from this period, and they are coveted by collectors for their iconic design and rarity. Being able to faithfully and accurately remaster this design on a new coin will allow more people to own and appreciate its beauty.”

Coins from this period were generally hand struck using hammers by workers at the Mint in the Tower of London. Therefore it was common for them to be ‘clipped’ by members of the public keen to secure small amounts of precious metal. This means the size and shape of coins could vary, and this has been reflected in the new edge design.

Gordon Summers, Chief Engraver at The Royal Mint, said: “When we began remastering this series, we wanted to retain the authenticity and beauty of the original – reflecting the best quality striking that the original engraver could only dream of achieving 500 years ago.

“Naturally coins from 500 years ago have experienced wear as they passed through the generations, were hand struck using hammers and were commonly ‘clipped’. All of these factors give the original coin irregularities, and it was important to reflect and celebrate that in the new design.”

“We digitised a high standard original coin using an extremely precise scanner, which gave us a really accurate model of the design. We then began to refine the surface, removing the damage and wear of centuries to deliver a coin which showcases Henry VII’s original effigy and historical features in high definition.”

The British Monarchs Collection will feature 21 coins over five years.

Each coin is inspired by a contemporary design originally made by The Royal Mint and remade by their master craftspeople for the 21st century.

You can find out more about the remastered coins on The Royal Mint website.