Britain’s late Queen Elizabeth II is being honored with a basketball-sized gold coin worth “about $23 million.” The coin is made of approximately 8 pounds of gold and approximately 6,426 diamonds. Could a new coin honoring the late Queen’s life be ‘one of the most valuable coins ever’?
According to the CNN news website, the coin will be unveiled a few days before the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s death. The commemorative coin is not considered legal tender in the United Kingdom (although the denominations of coins in the design are). It is produced by the East India Company, a luxury lifestyle brand with the rights to the name of the company that once controlled large parts of the British Empire.
The coin, named “The Crown,” was described in a company press release as a “masterpiece.” The coin is over 9.6 inches (24.38 cm) in diameter, making it wider than an NBA (North American professional basketball league) regulation basketball, and the design consists of approximately a dozen 24-karat gold coins set in diamond beds .
The central coin weighs over 2 pounds (about 1 kilogram), while the smaller coins surrounding it weigh 1 ounce (28.34 grams) and feature images of the late king or images of virtues such as truth, justice, and courage. On one side, thousands of diamonds are arranged to form the flag of the United Kingdom, while the reverse side is inspired by the late Queen’s crowns.
Approved currency before death
The production of “The Crown” took more than a year, which means that work on it began before the death of Queen Elizabeth at Balmoral Castle in Scotland last September. The coin designs were fully approved by the Government of the British Overseas Territory of St Helena and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II before her death, in a process administered by the Royal Household, Royal, Ceremonial and Honorary Unit (RCHU) of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
In an interview with CNN before the unveiling, businessman Sanjeev Mehta, who acquired the rights to the East India Company in 2005, said he spared no expense to honor Queen Elizabeth, whom he described as the “Earth Queen.”
“An average diamond setter can set about four stones per hour,” said Mehta, whose family is in the diamond industry. “So, if you look at (about) 6,500 bricks in one block, that’s a lot of man-hours. “Our tribute to the Queen was not about cutting costs, it was about celebrating life,” he added.
Record most expensive currency?
The current Guinness World Record for the most expensive coin ever sold at auction is held by the rare 1933 American “Double Eagle” which sold for $18.9 million at Sotheby’s New York in June 2021.
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