On March 16, 1965, only seven weeks following his death, Parliament voted and approved the Churchill Crown.
In September, the Royal Mint released a limited issue Churchill circulating commemorative crown honoring and memorializing his life. The Crown was legal tender valued at 5 Shillings/25 Pence in the Pre-decimal coinage era.
The Churchill Crown featured the Laureate bust of the first “young head” of Queen Elizabeth II not the “older head” adopted that year by Canada, Australia and others. The Queen’s portrait on the Churchill Crown is facing right on the obverse.
The inscription around the Queen’s stunning portrait reads: ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA F.D. Translation: “Elizabeth the Second by the Grace of God Queen Defender of the Faith.” Below the Queen’s portrait is the year of the Crown’s issuance, 1965.
The 1965 Churchill Crown was the first coin issued in the United Kingdom to bear the portrait of a commoner on the same coin as a Monarch since Oliver Cromwell in 1658. The Queen had to give her express approval for this currency innovation.
The Churchill Crown was made of cupro-nickel alloy, as no silver had been used in any British general circulation coin since 1946.
To meet public demand, The Washington Post’s London Correspondent, W. Dennis Way, reported on Oct. 17, 1965 that British banks ordered $19.5 million worth of the Churchill Commemorative Crowns, and the United States ordered another $14 million worth. The orders indicated an issue by the Royal Mint of at least 50 million Crowns.