20 January 2020
The Royal Mint has announced that the band Queen will feature on a collection of commemorative coins, available from today (20 January 2020).
The coin pays tribute to all four members of Queen, depicting their different instruments and contributions to the group and will be the first in the Royal Mint's new 'music legends' collection, available in Gold Proof, Silver Proof, and Brilliant Uncirculated.
A coinage first
Known for pushing the boundaries with their own unique style and continually reinventing their approach to music, Queen’s layered sound and flamboyant anthems continue to influence a new generation of musicians’ decades after they were formed.
Perhaps the most striking example of the band’s determination to be bold was their decision to release a six-minute quasi-operatic single, Bohemian Rhapsody, in 1975. Before the release of the song, the label was determined to cut the length of the single significantly. However, the foursome refused and the risk paid off, with the single spending nine consecutive weeks at the top of the charts. In 2002, 27 years later, the single was voted as Britain’s favourite song of all time.
A musical tribute
The opening notes of Bohemian Rhapsody are so well recognised, that The Royal Mint’s coin designer, Chris Facey, decided it was a fitting tribute to showcase these by featuring the keys on the piano pressed down.
Speaking of his design, Chris said: 'Chris Facey, designer of the Queen coin, added: “My first memory of Queen was hearing Bohemian Rhapsody in the film Wayne’s World, and I’ve been a big fan ever since. It’s therefore such an honour to be asked to commemorate such an extraordinary band on a UK coin, and even more exciting as it’s the first coin I’ve designed. All four members of Queen were vital for their bravery in the music they created and the boundaries they pushed, and I hope that fans will enjoy seeing each of their contributions paid tribute to on this coin.”
The coin commemorates all four members of Queen, in recognition of their contributions to the band’s success. This is done through the portrayal of each member’s instrument, with the Bechstein™ grand piano – which Freddie Mercury played for Bohemian Rhapsody – featuring at the top of the coin. Meanwhile, the group’s logo is placed at the centre of the design and is underscored by the singer’s signature mic stick.
Brian May’s ‘Red Special’ guitar - which he still plays using an old sixpence to give his unique sound – also features alongside John Deacon’s Fender Precision Bass™. Finally, Roger Taylor’s Ludwig™ bass drum is decorated with the Queen crest, as it appeared in the band’s early days.
'A real honour'
Brian May from Queen said: “This is a big ‘Who could have imagined it?’ moment for us. When we began as Queen, even the first rung of the ladder to recognition seemed remote and unreachable. To have our band recognised and our music celebrated in this way is very touching - a real honour.”
Roger Taylor from Queen said: “Marvellous, all this fuss over our band. I feel entirely spent.”
How do I get the Queen coins?
The coins are available from The Royal Mint and prices range from £13 for the Brilliant Uncirculated coin up to £2,100 for the Gold proof coin. The Brilliant Uncirculated coin will also be available in limited numbers in three exclusive packs which includes a poster and will only be available to purchase from The Royal Mint.
The Brilliant Uncirculated coin will also be available in limited numbers in three exclusive packs which includes a poster and will only be available to purchase from The Royal Mint.