Q is for Queen Elizabeth II on stamps and coins

Because it’s been 60 years since she ascended to the throne in the United Kingdom, there have been a number of commemorative coins and stamps issued with the image of Queen Elizabeth II in 2012. But long before that, QEII’s image has been showing up around the world.

I came across The Portraits of Queen Elizabeth II, as they appear on World Banknotes, which is an interesting evolution of the Queen, now in her ninth decade.

Her portrait was first featured on coins in 1953 issued in Great Britain, Australia, Canada, Fiji, Jamaica, Malaya & British Borneo, Mauritius, New Zealand, South Africa and Southern Rhodesia. Whether or not she is wearing her crown depended on the monarchy’s relationship with the country. Someone asked: How many countries coins has Queen Elizabeth II been on? The best answer seems to be from Sap, posted 1/27/2010, from which I will note here (since the permalink doesn’t work):

* circulation coins used to have Queen’s portrait but no longer do so today
# only commemoratives have featured the Queen’s portrait

Australia, Bahamas*, Belize, Canada, Cyprus*, Dominica#, Gambia*, Great Britain, Grenada#, Jamaica*, Kiribati#, Mauritius*, New Zealand, Nigeria*, Papua New Guinea#, Saint Kitts & Nevis#, Saint Lucia#, Saint Vincent & Grenadines#, Seychelles*, Tuvalu, Uganda*, Zambia*, plus Fiji (“a Republic and expelled from the Commonwealth but still has the Queen on all its coinage”). This doesn’t even count the various former colonies in Africa, the Caribbean (including the current Guyana), Hong Kong, and what is now Malaysia and Singapore, all of which had had QEII on the money in the day.

Check out a timeline of the Queen’s appearance on Australian coins.

As for postage, you find useful Queen Elizabeth II: A Portrait in Stamps (Paperback) By Fay Sweet. The description of the book: “Since her accession to the throne in 1952, the Queen’s image on UK stamps has become one of the most familiar and reproduced icons of all time. This book illustrates the reign of Her Majesty as celebrated on Britain’s stamps.” Here’s a List of British postage stamps. This commercial vendor has a detailed QEII section.

In Canada, there is have been annual definitive stamps bearing the Queen’s likeness. I couldn’t find as definite a piece about QEII on stamps as I did for coins, but I expect a large overlap.

All of this is very, well, foreign, to me, since no living person can appear on US postage or money. There will postage stamps commemorating former Presidents a year after they die. The FDR dime and the JFK half dollar were both issued in the year following their respective deaths (1946, 1964, respectively).

ABC Wednesday – Round 10

0 thoughts on “Q is for Queen Elizabeth II on stamps and coins”

    1. From the Wikipedia: Until 1949, the United Kingdom and Australia shared a common nationality code. The final constitutional ties between United Kingdom and Australia ended in 1986 with the passing of the Australia Act 1986.

      So, no, AUSTRALIA is not part of the Empire. BUT-

      A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state within the Commonwealth of Nations that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state.


  1. The Commonwealth is a very big deal, though Commonwealth Realms are not: There are only 16 Commonwealth Realms with a total population of 135 million, as opposed to The Commonwealth itself, which is made up of 54 nations with 1.2 billion people.

    One important thing to remember about Queen Elizabeth is that while she’s Queen of the United Kingdom, that’s not her title overseas: She’s Queen of New Zealand and Queen of Australia and Queen of Canada, etc. As Head of State for those 16 countries, she is THEIR Head of State regardless of any other countries of which she may be sovereign.

    The first time I saw her on currency was when we made a family trip to Canada in 1970. I was fascinated, but more by the English and French on the money. I also (barely) remember the switch in half dollar portraits, and seem to remember that my parents weren’t enthusiastic about it. Ah, memories…


  2. Ah, if only the Commonwealth could get its act together, it could do real good in the world – a perfect counter-balance to other power structures. I can only dream.


  3. I always thought my mother looked a bit like Queen Elizabeth, and she acted a bit like a princess, too. lol Actually, who knows with all that inbreeding, she/we could have some of those genes…seeing as how we are descendants of a Scottish Lord. Good choice for Q week, Roger! Have a great week and see you on F/B…

    abcw team


  4. I didn’t realize that she was called the Queen of New Zealand, and Queen of Australia and Queen of Canada. I guess I just thought of her as The Queen.
    Great post as usual.


  5. Very clever to think of the Queen. I’d never realized the difference between wearing and not wearing the crown for the different country’s relationship to the monarchy.


  6. A good choice for Q – Elizabeth has been an excellent monarch, – loved and respected through all the trials and tribulations of being a Queen and a Mother!!!


  7. there’s a town here named after the Queen of England, who made a visit here years ago, it’s called Queenstown. There’s even the Elizabeth Walk by the waterfront, but that has gone through changes when the seafront was reclaimed.


  8. Yes … the Queen really hangs out in all the right circles. Her image in coins is a very common sight here in Canada. Now that parliament is seriously considering eliminating pennies, we might see a lot less of her charming face in the future. 🙂


  9. It is very interesting to see the changing portraits of the Queen.
    One thing (in relation to what Arthur points out) that is particularly irksome is constantly hearing her referred to as “Queen of England” .


  10. Sweet “Q” post! I also think it was a cool tidbit about her appearing wearing or not wearing a crown…thanks! Have a great week.


  11. I didn’t realize no living person could be portrayed on a US stamp, though it makes sense. I have mixed feelings about the royal family. I’m afraid Britain would fall prey to extreme socialism if they weren’t there. Yet the lack of insight into the life style of those who were not rich and famous frustrated me no end. How could they be so isolated as to not understand what their people went through during and after the war? But the pageantry and history is fascinating.


  12. For certain an interesting progression! I’m with ChrisJ, I find the royals fascinating, but wonder if they are really necessary.


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