When designs are commissioned from artists for new United Kingdom coins, the artwork submitted most conventionally takes the form of drawings or low-relief plaster models. Even so, design submissions can arrive in all manner of forms. Alongside those submissions that have been prepared in carved stone or wood, and those conceived as lino-cuts or on acid-etched zinc plates, is Louis Osman’s design for the Silver Jubilee crown of 1977, finely modelled into red wax.

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Osman was a silversmith of considerable distinction, who had previously designed the crown worn by Prince Charles at his Investiture as Prince of Wales in 1969. His design for the Silver Jubilee crown reached the final stages of the selection process but it was to lose out in the end to Arnold Machin, whose 1977 Jubilee crown went on to hold the highest mintage figure of any United Kingdom coin so far. Though this was as close as Osman ever came to designing a United Kingdom coin, the record of his beautiful wax models is testimony to that rare combination of a great craftsman and a great artist.

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