Following the abdication in December 1936, Paget alone was commissioned to prepare the uncrowned effigy urgently required for coins and medals of George VI. If there were doubts about this course of action, Paget dispelled them brilliantly, for in a little more than a month he produced what has been described as the classic coinage head of the 20th century.
Simple, unaffected, well-balanced, it was as near perfect from a technical point of view as the Royal Mint could have hoped for. More than any other design it may be said to typify Paget’s work and is almost certainly the design which he himself regarded as his best.
Paget’s most productive period followed the Second World War. Some of his many commissions are detailed below.
Particular mention deserves to be made of his head of Faisal II for the Iraq coinage, for which the schoolboy king gave sittings at Harrow, and of the reverse design for the Southern Rhodesia crown of 1953 which incorporated so many diverse elements in a space of only 35mm that it must be considered a design triumph. Another that should be counted among his best is a medallic portrait of the Duke of Edinburgh, his last major commission.
Undoubtedly Paget ranks as one of the most prolific and outstanding of the Royal Mint’s panel of artists during the first half of the 20th century.