Queen Elizabeth's Rare, 1963 Bank Note Portraits Are Up for Auction

Own a piece of royal history.

If you've ever wanted to own a piece of true royal history, now is your chance—if you also have a few thousand dollars to invest in that history, that is.

William George auctioneers (opens in new tab) is auctioning off a set of rare vintage portraits of Queen Elizabeth (opens in new tab) that go beyond your usual royal memorabilia. These pictures, by photographer Anthony Buckley in 1963, were originally taken for the Bank of Canada and are from the set used as the basis of the image of the Queen (opens in new tab) that appeared on the country's currency for a full decade.

The portrait that was eventually used as the official basis for the Queen's Canadian bank note image (opens in new tab) on Canadian $1, $2 and $20 notes from 1969 to 1979 (which is not included in the auction lot) was part of this set of images.

Here are a couple of examples of the currency in question:

queen elizabeth

(Image credit: DEA / A. DAGLI ORTI/Getty Images)

queen elizabeth

(Image credit: DEA / A. DAGLI ORTI/Getty Images)

"It’s rare for ones used for official purposes to come onto the market," Alex McCormick of William George auctioneers, explained. "They were taken in a single photoshoot and these examples were the best that were kept and saved once the Queen had approved this final group of images."

Some changes were made to the final image of the Queen (opens in new tab) that appeared on Canadian money—notably, her tiara was removed (opens in new tab) and the neckline of her dress was altered—but the images still served as the basis for the currency portrait, which is undeniably cool (not to mention historically significant).

queen elizabeth


The portraits are being sold in an online auction (opens in new tab), which closes on April 23. The reserve price for the prints is $3,750, so be prepared to pay at least that if you're interested in bidding.

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Kayleigh Roberts
Kayleigh Roberts

Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.