The Royal Mint announces new commemorative coin to celebrate the legacy of one of Britain’s most loved bands
The Royal Mint has announced that Queen will be celebrated with the launch of a commemorative coin collection, making it the first time that a British band has been celebrated on UK coinage. Available now, the design is the first in The Royal Mint’s new “Music Legends” collection.
Known for pushing the boundaries with their own unique style and continually reinventing their approach to music, Queen’s layered sound and flamboyant anthems continue to influence a new generation of musicians’ decades after they were formed.
Perhaps the most striking example of the band’s determination to be bold was their decision to release a six-minute quasi-operatic single, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” in 1975. Before the release of the song, the label was determined to cut the length of the single significantly. However, the foursome refused and the risk paid off, with the single spending nine consecutive weeks at the top of the charts. In 2002, 27 years later, the single was voted as Britain’s favorite song of all time. The opening notes of “Bohemian Rhapsody” are so well recognized, that The Royal Mint’s coin designer, Chris Facey, decided it was a fitting tribute to showcase these by featuring the keys on the piano pressed down.
The coin commemorates all four members of Queen, in recognition of their contributions to the band’s success. This is done through the portrayal of each member’s instrument, with the Bechstein grand piano – which Freddie Mercury played for “Bohemian Rhapsody” – featuring at the top of the coin. Meanwhile, the group’s logo is placed at the centre of the design and is underscored by the singer’s signature mic stick.
Brian May’s “Red Special” guitar – which he still plays using an old sixpence to give his unique sound – also features alongside John Deacon’s Fender Precision Bass. Finally, Roger Taylor’s Ludwig bass drum is decorated with the Queen crest, as it appeared in the band’s early days.
“This is a big ‘Who could have imagined it?’ moment for us,” Brian May shares. “When we began as Queen, even the first rung of the ladder to recognition seemed remote and unreachable. To have our band recognized and our music celebrated in this way is very touching – a real honor.”
“Marvellous, all this fuss over our band. I feel entirely spent,” Roger Taylor quips.
“Queen were one of the most influential bands of their generation, and their timeless classics are still enjoyed by millions of fans around the world,” states Nicola Howell, Chief Commercial Officer at The Royal Mint. “That’s why we’re so pleased to be honoring their great contribution to British music with their very own coin, which will be the first time a British band has been celebrated on UK coinage. British music is one of our greatest contributions to culture around the world, and its musicians like Queen who are at the forefront of this. We’re looking forward to announcing other coins in our new ‘Music Legends’ collection later this year, marking the work of other exceptional British musicians.”
The collaboration was brought together and facilitated by, Bravado, Universal Music Group’s leading merchandise and brand management company. The first in an exciting new series celebrating innovation and success of British music, the commemorative coins will be available in Gold proof, Silver proof, and Brilliant Uncirculated and will be available to purchase from royalmint.com.
Prices range from £13 for the Brilliant Uncirculated coin up to £2,100 for the Gold proof coin. The Brilliant Uncirculated coin will also be available in limited numbers in three exclusive packs which includes a poster and will only be available to purchase from The Royal Mint.
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.