After 70 years of overseeing the monarchy, some honors are to be expected. Perhaps none are as beautifully symbolic, though, as Irish artist and illustrator Patrick James (P. J.) Lynch's design of the limited edition set of £5 coins featuring Queen Elizabeth's signature front and center.
The iconic "Elizabeth R" has been featured on cards and documents—both official and celebratory—for decades, and as a symbol it is quite powerful: with a few flicks of her wrist, the Queen can decree, decline, and commit the Commonwealth, and herself, to creating a brighter future for all.
Created by The Royal Mint (opens in new tab), the set of three coins all feature her signature and focus on particular aspects of her life as Queen: "the bestowing of her honor," "her charity and her patronage," and "her Commonwealth of nations," as inscribed at the top of each coin.
But the inclusion of her signature represents more than her power, as Lynch explained to The Telegraph: "[H]er hands are such an important thing – she is always shaking hands, using them to carry out symbolic tasks like presenting awards, planting trees or unveiling plaques. It is how she communicates with hundreds, if not thousands, of people at once."
And truly, who has a more iconic wave than the Queen?
Keeping the design simple in this way allows for the magnitude of all the Queen has accomplished during her reign to take center stage. It's a fitting tribute during the year of her Platinum Jubilee, an honor so rare it's only been achieved by a handful of monarchs around the world.
"Books can last hundreds of years," explained Lynch, "but there are coins that are thousands of years old. They tell so much about an era." To be sure, few eras have had as much of an impact as Elizabeth's, and you can take that all the way to the bank.
Alicia Lutes is a writer—all kinds—based in Los Angeles, who has written extensively on culture, entertainment, and mental health. Her work has been featured in places such as Playboy, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, MTV, Cosmopolitan, Rotten Tomatoes, Bustle, and more. Previously, she was Managing Editor at Nerdist, as well as creator/former host of the web series Fangirling. She has been known to perform comedy and is also her own grandpa, so biographies are incredibly hard for her.
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