Portrait of Henry VIII remastered for new Royal Mint coins
Coins featuring a remastered portrait of Henry VIII have been unveiled by the Royal Mint.
It is the fifth coin in the Mint’s British monarchs collection and the second in the collection to feature a king from the House of Tudor.
Henry’s father Henry VII featured on the first coin of the series.
Henry VIII, who reigned between 1509 and 1547, had the unfavourable nickname of “old Coppernose”, the Mint said.
Coinage was debased in his era, which involved combining the precious metal content of a coin with a more common metal, such as copper.
Coins were struck with increasing amounts of copper, with a thin layer of silver applied. This layer eventually wore away, particularly around the nose of Henry VIII’s forward-facing portrait, the Mint said.
The Mint said the debasement of coinage affected the quality of Henry VIII’s portrait, making it one of the most difficult of the original portraits to reproduce for the collection, as the clarity of the design had lost definition over the years.
To remaster the original coin, the Mint’s design team combined craftsmanship with innovative technology, including using scanners to examine the original coin.
Liaising with the Royal Mint Museum regularly also helped to ensure that the Henry VIII coin design had been remastered faithfully, with clarity added to the modern version of the original coin.
The remastered Henry VIII coin design depicts what it would have looked like once the coin was struck, before it lost its clarity, the Mint said.
Despite the challenge caused by the quality of Henry VIII's original portrait, the effigy has been faithfully recreated in fine detail using state-of-the-art technology and numismatic processes
Rebecca Morgan, Royal Mint
Rebecca Morgan, director of collector services at the Royal Mint said: “Despite the challenge caused by the quality of Henry VIII’s original portrait, the effigy has been faithfully recreated in fine detail using state-of-the-art technology and numismatic processes.
“We are delighted to add Henry VIII as the fifth addition to the popular British monarchs collection.
She added: “With this being the first coin in the series to feature the official coinage portrait of His Majesty King Charles III, we do anticipate a high demand for these coins from collectors.
“There has been significant international appeal with the British monarchs Collection, with its coins being bought by collectors in multiple countries.”
Chris Barker, information and research manager at the Royal Mint Museum, said: “Due to the debasement, good examples of coins from this period of Henry VIII’s reign are rare to find, meaning that the definition of the reverse and obverse designs have been worn away through time.
“The coin used to recreate the King’s portrait was a testoon, one of the coins that would have been affected by the debasement.”
The Royal Mint’s British monarchs series spans four Royal houses – Tudor, Stuart, Hanover and Windsor, remastering designs in high definition.
Prices for the Henry VIII coin range from £99.50 for a silver £2 denomination coin to £12,500 for a £500 denomination gold proof coin.