Saint Helena is a small island in the South Atlantic Ocean which is part of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. The currency of the island is the Saint Helena pound, fixed at parity with the pound sterling. The island has authorised some private mints to issue coins under its jurisdiction, which come in a variety of sizes - including in the large two ounces of gold (2 oz gold) format, denominated as £5.
This coin marks Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s historic Platinum Jubilee (70 years on the throne).
The Mint says about it:
Upon her accession 70 years ago, Her Majesty also became Head of the Commonwealth, which at that time was formed of just eight member states, including the former Empire territories of Canada, Australia, India and Pakistan. During Her Majesty’s reign the Commonwealth has grown to include 53 independent countries and over two billion people! Her Majesty’s commitment to, and affection for, the Commonwealth were captured in The Queen’s Christmas Day broadcast in 1953: "The Commonwealth bears no resemblance to the empires of the past. It is an entirely new conception built on the highest qualities of the spirit of man: friendship, loyalty, and the desire for freedom and peace". These words made clear Her Majesty’s willingness to break from the past, to forge new ground but to do so based on shared, traditional values. And it is those virtues of friendship, loyalty, freedom and peace that we honour now with this limited-edition 2022 Silver Proof Coin.
The story of Her Majesty’s historic 70-year reign begins on 6th February 1952, when King George VI died peacefully in his sleep at Sandringham. Thousands of miles away in Kenya, the King’s eldest daughter Princess Elizabeth, still just 25 years old, and her husband Philip had enjoyed an overnight stay at Treetops Hotel before returning to their base at Sagana Lodge. Elizabeth’s private secretary Martin Charteris received the news from London that the King had died before Prince Philip himself broke the terrible news to his wife that her beloved father had passed away in the night; Elizabeth was now Queen. So began a remarkable reign. In 2012 Her Majesty became only the second UK monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee, following in the footsteps of her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria. In 2015 she surpassed Victoria’s record as the United Kingdom’s longest reigning monarch and now, in 2022, she becomes the first UK monarch to celebrate a historic Platinum Jubilee.
The obverse of the coin depicts the crowned old bust of Queen Elizabeth II facing right, wearing the Royal Diamond Diadem crown worn for her Coronation (effigy known as the "Fifth Portrait" worldwide but "Sixth Portrait" in Australia, where the Queen's portrait by Vladimir Gottwald was fifth).
The Queen also wears the Coronation Necklace; originally made for Queen Victoria in 1858, it was also worn at the coronations (as Queen's Consort) of Queen Alexandra in 1902, Queen Mary in 1911 and Queen Elizabeth (the Queen mother) in 1937.
Unlike on British coinage, the effigy is "uncouped" (includes the Queen's shoulders). In small letters on the left, the artist's initials JC (for Jody Clark).
Running continuously around the rim is the monarch's legend, the date of issue and the face value: ELIZABETH II · D · G · REGINA · F · D · ST. HELENA · 5 POUNDS 2022 ·. Translated from Latin: Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen, Defender of the Faith, Saint Helena.
The neoclassical design features two elegant female figures: to the left, a personification of loyalty and friendship while on the right stands a representation of peace and freedom. On ribbons behind the figures, the inscriptions in Latin: AMICITIA (friendship) and FIDES (loyalty) on the left, LIBERTAS (freedom) and PAX (peace) on the right - represented also by a flying dove.
Beams of sunlight radiate from the coin’s heart, below which sits a resting heraldic lion representing the strength and courage Her Majesty has shown throughout her 70-year reign. Other British symbols include an anchor, as a reminder of England's naval power, a small oak tree (symbol of England) and a rose (also a symbol of England).
Above, a large numeral 70. At centre, the Queen's cypher E II R (for Elizabeth II Regina - Elizabeth the Second, Queen), crowned with Saint Edward's Crown.
Below left, the EIC mint mark of the East India Company; the letters are separated by arrows radiating from the centre around which they are situated. Below right, the monogram of the artist: CP (for Chiara Principe).