An Indian luxury brand has pulled out all the stops in its gleaming tribute to Her late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, the beloved British monarch who reigned for more than 70 years and died nearly a year ago on September 8, 2022, at the age of 96. The East India Company unveiled on Monday a massive commemorative coin — really an objet d’art — that is wider than an NBA basketball, weighs 3.61kg (7.95 lbs) and glistens with 6,426 diamonds weighing 486 carats.
The creator has valued the "The Crown Coin" at a whopping $23 million. The current record for the most expensive coin ever auctioned is held by a 1933 American “Double Eagle,” which sold for $18.9 million at Sotheby’s New York in June 2021.
The Crown Coin is actually a coin of many coins.
The most ornate face includes a series of 10 .999 1oz gold coins orbiting a much larger 1kg (35.27oz) gold coin, similar in formation to the way the planets orbit the Sun. The smaller coins feature portraits of the late monarch as well as the personifications of the six virtues as featured on the Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace. These are widely acknowledged as the guiding principles set down by Queen Victoria (1819-1901) and carried forward by Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022).
The outer ring of this face is inscribed with notable quotes from her coronation oath in 1953. On the upper rim, it says, "The things I have here before promised I will perform and keep so help me God." The lower rim has this quote: "Throughout all of my life and with all my heart I will strive to be worthy of your trust."
The diamond array on the multi-coin face is said to be inspired by Elizabeth II's tiaras. The diamond formation on the effigy side of the coin follows the lines of the British flag.
The commemorative coin is not considered legal tender, although the smaller coins included in the design are.
From concept to fabrication, The Crown Coin was truly an international collaboration. According to The East India Company website, the coin was conceived in Britain and designed in Sri Lanka and England. The outer ring of gold was made in India and engraved in Singapore. The coins were minted in Germany and The Netherlands. The diamonds were cut and polished In Australia, South Africa and Canada, and certified in the US by the Gemological Association of America. And finally, the coin was assembled in India. Exactly 83 artisans lent their skills to this project, which took more than one year to complete.
"Queen Elizabeth II was an inspiration for many generations, embodying the virtues which guided her through the past seven decades and which are celebrated in this rare and exceptional tribute," noted Sanjiv Mehta, Chairman and CEO of The East India Company.
Back in May of 2022, The Royal Mint produced the largest coin in its 1,100-year history to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s historic 70-year reign. The one-of-a-kind "Platinum Jubilee" coin was made of .999 gold and weighed 15kg (33.1 lbs). Its diameter of 22cm was slightly smaller than The Crown Coin at 24.4cm (9.6 in). The coin carried a denomination of £15,000, but the value of the precious metal at the time of its release was £776,595 ($982,000).
Credits: Images courtesy of The East India Company.