United Kingdom: Superstar George Michael Honoured in Music Legends Collector Series

The Royal Mint have released the latest edition of collector coins which is part of their current and popular series entitled Music Legends.

by Michael Alexander | Published on February 27, 2024

Following the likes of David Bowie, Elton John, Queen and the rolling Stones, the newest coins pay tribute to Singer, Songwriter, Producer, Philanthropist and Creative Icon, George Michael (1963 – 2016). Considered one of the most influential recording artists of all time, he rose to fame in the 1980’s as a member of the duo WHAM! selling over 30 million records. Michael later embarked on a solo career and sold over 125 million records worldwide, remaining one of the best-selling musicians of all time. During his career spanning over three decades, he topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart eight times in the United States and hitting the No.1 spot on the United Kingdom singles charts seven times as a solo artist, redefining pop music in the process.

Born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou on the 25th June 1963 in London, he was one of three children and the only son of Kyriacos Panayiotou, a Greek Cypriot and Lesley Angold. He showed a keen interest in music at an early age but despite being somewhat shy, the idea of someday becoming a professional musician didn’t seem attainable. It wasn’t until he met his future Wham! partner Andrew Ridgeley while in Grammar school that the two discovered they had the same career ambition of being musicians. From their mega-successful debut single ‘Club Tropicana’ in 1982, it seemed the duo were unstoppable with additional chart-toppers, worldwide concerts and music videos which became some of the most requested on MTV.

In 1985, Wham! Became the first western pop group to visit and perform in Mainland China, generating worldwide media coverage. Much of the worldwide headlines read ‘East meets Wham!’ and ‘Another great wall comes down’.

Looking for a creative change and direction, George Michael easily transitioned from a teen heartthrob as part of pop duo WHAM! into a global superstar as a solo artist. His debut solo album entitled FAITH released in 1987 followed on from his first solo single ‘Careless Whisper’ and quickly became a worldwide success. Altogether, Michael had released nine albums, seven of those as a solo artist. ‘Freedom 90’ and ‘Last Christmas’ remain enduringly popular and regularly voted as some of the United Kingdom’s favourite songs.

On Christmas Day 2016, fans across the world were shocked and saddened by the announcement of George Michael’s sudden passing at the age of 53. Since then, numerous stories of his compassion, kindness and generosity have emerged. Remembered for his philanthropy as well as his musical talent, he is one of the UK’s most beloved pop stars. Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2023, George Michael’s status as a music icon was set in stone. As of the bestselling solo musicians of all time, George Michael remains a global superstar whose work continues to inspire and influence new generations with his music and his unique style.

Designed by artist and sculptor Sandra Deiana, the new reverse side of the coins portray the famous headshot of Michael wearing his trademark sunglasses, a series of images were taken and featured on the FAITH album cover. Behind Michael is representation of the song ‘Faith’ shown as a recording imprint. In a diagonal direction is the text GEORGE MICHAEL placed to the lower right of the primary design. The colours black and red which were used prominently throughout his career feature on the text with a selection of the coins. The obverse of each coin features the definitive effigy of HM King Charles III designed by Martin Jennings and introduced onto British commemorative and circulation type coins since 2022. The denomination from 50 PENCE to 200 POUNDS and year of issue 2024 also appears on the obverse as part of the legend surrounding the King’s likeness. The coin’s design was officially approved by George Michael’s estate and follows celebrations of WHAM!’s holiday single entitled ‘Last Christmas’ that reached number one in the British charts 39 years after its initial release.

Denomination  Metal  Weight  Diameter  Quality  Total Mintage
5 Pounds  Cupro-nickel  28.2 gr.  38.6 mmBU  Unlimited
5 Pounds  Cupro-nickel  28.2 gr. 38.6 mm  BU & colour7,510
2 Pounds  .999 Silver  31.2 gr. 38.6 mm  Proof & colour  3,510
5 Pounds  .999 Silver  62.4 gr. 40 mm Proof360
10 Pounds  .999 Silver  156.29 gr.  65 mm  Proof185
50 Pence999.9 Gold.08 gr.8 mmProof2,034
25 Pounds  999.9 Gold7.8 gr. 22 mmProof310
100 Pounds  999.9 Gold31.21 gr. 32.6 mm  Proof160
200 Pounds  999.9 Gold62.42 gr. 40 mm. Proof35

The BU Cupro-nickel coins are presented in a blister-pak type folder with illustrations and informative text that tells the story of George Michael’s life and legacy. The silver proof strikes are encapsulated and presented in black branded custom cases and accompanied with a numbered certificate of authenticity. The gold pieces are encapsulated and presented in gloss-polished black custom cases accompanied with a certificate of authenticity. For additional information for these and other coins available from the Royal Mint, please visit their website here.

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Author: Michael Alexander

Michael Alexander image Michael’s background in both numismatics and banknotes spans more than three decades and whose activities have varied from being a dedicated world coin collector to coin & medal design, marketing, theme concept and production. His additional interests include banknote research and in 1997, he founded the London Banknote and Monetary Research Centre to further these interests and activities. The company continues to offer monthly currency bulletins to both online and printed publications which includes information about the latest banknote news and releases from Central Banks and Monetary Authorities around the world. Michael has been a contributor to COIN NEWS magazine based in the UK since 1998 where many of his in-depth interviews, articles and bulletins have been published.

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