Queen have become the first band to be commemorated on a British coin thanks to a series of collectables released by the Royal Mint today (Jan. 20).
The honor comes after the U.K.’s Royal Mail announced plans to mark the band’s 50th anniversary with a postage stamp to be launched in July.
The coin was created by Royal Mint designer Chris Facey, a supporter of Freddie Mercury’s group. “My first memory of Queen was hearing ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ in the film Wayne’s World, and I’ve been a big fan ever since,” he told ITV. Each coin depicts a detail of the band’s musical instruments, with the keys of Mercury’s piano held down to play the first notes of “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Guitarist Brian May said on his website: “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 recognized and our music celebrated in this way is very touching, a real honor.”
“Marvelous, all this fuss over our band,” drummer Roger Taylor added. “I feel entirely spent.”
While the coins can’t be used as legal tender, they’re presented in a series of options and price points, from £13 ($16.89) for a £5 brilliant uncirculated coin in standard slipcase, £15 ($19.49) for the same item in a range of slipcases limited to 25,000 each, £60 ($77.96) for a half-ounce silver proof coin limited to 17,500, £90 ($116.95) for a one-once silver proof coin limited to 7,500, and £510 ($662.96) for a quarter-ounce gold proof coin limited to 1,250. A final edition, a one-once gold proof coin, retailing at £2,020 ($2,624.79) is already sold out.
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