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Queen become first British band to be celebrated on an official UK coin

Queen's Brian May with the new £5 coin
Queen's Brian May with the new £5 coin (Image credit: The Royal Mint)

The Royal Mint have released a commemorative coin honouring rock legends Queen.

It’s the first time that a British band has been recognised on UK currency, with the range designed by Chris Facey featuring Freddie Mercury’s mic and Bechstein grand piano, Brian May’s ‘Red Special’ guitar, John Deacon’s Fender Precision bass and Roger Taylor’s Ludwig bass drum.

The coin is available in a variety of versions with the £5 Brilliant Uncirculated coin presented in four different slipcases covers representing Queen, their live work and the albums Hot Space and A Kind Of Magic.

In addition there’s a half ounce silver proof coin, a one ounce silver proof coin, a quarter-ounce gold proof coin, and a one ounce gold proof coin.

All are available to purchase through the Royal Mint’s website, with prices ranging from £13 for the Brilliant Uncirculated coin up to £2020 for the gold proof coin.

May says: “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.”

Taylor adds: “Marvellous, all this fuss over our band. I feel entirely spent.”

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The £5 Queen Brilliant Uncirculated coin

The £5 Queen Brilliant Uncirculated coin (Image credit: Thew Royal Mint)
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The Queen One Ounce Silver Proof Coin

The Queen One Ounce Silver Proof Coin (Image credit: The Royal Mint)
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The Queen One Ounce Gold Proof Coin

The Queen One Ounce Gold Proof Coin (Image credit: The Royal Mint)

Designer Facey says his first memory of hearing Queen was Bohemian Rhapsody in the famous car scene from 1992 Mike Myers film Wayne’s World, and he’s been a fan ever since.

He adds: “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 Royal Mint’s chief commercial officer Nicola Howell says: “Queen were one of the most influential bands of their generation, and their timeless classics are still enjoyed by millions of fans around the world. 

“That’s why we’re so pleased to be honouring their great contribution to British music with their very own coin, which will be the first time a British band has been celebrated on UK coinage.

“British music is one of our greatest contributions to culture around the world, and its musicians like Queen who are at the forefront of this. 

“We’re looking forward to announcing other coins in our new ‘Music Legends’ collection later this year, marking the work of other exceptional British musicians.”

Queen and Adam Lambert will play at the Fire  Fight Australia benefit concert Sydney’s ANZ Stadium on February 16 to raise funds for the national bushfire relief efforts.

Scott Munro

News editor for Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog and Louder. He’s been at the news desk since 2014 and when not writing, he can be found watching baseball and visiting whisky distilleries.