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Date published: 12 September 2022
The penny portrait of Queen Elizabeth II
A penny mosaic portrait of Queen Elizabeth II – created by a Rochdale artist for her Diamond Jubilee in 2012 – is up for auction with 100% of proceeds going to Cancer Research UK.
Rick Redman made the 2,000 penny mosaic shortly after the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, after seeing similar mosaics made from pennies, such as coffee tables, floors and portraits of Abraham Lincoln made out of US one-cent pieces.
He said: “I thought it would make a similar amount of sense to make the Queen out of our own one pence pieces, since her face is on them.
“I had no idea how to even start putting something like this together, and the hardest part was acquiring the pennies as it wasn’t as simply as walking into a bank with £20 and getting it changed.”
After painstakingly collecting thousands of pennies, Rick separated them into eight different shades, from dark to light, before using them like any other medium. The 20-kg piece stands approximately one- metre in height, is made from 18mm medium density fibreboard, 2,000 one pence coins, and finished with an epoxy resin.
“It was a tedious process putting the coins together. But as it started to take shape, I stopped asking myself, ‘what am I doing?’ and it started feeling like it was coming together. In the end I was quite happy with it. It's finished with an epoxy resin which should keep it in good condition for many years,” he continued.
After completion, Rick tried to give the portrait to Her Majesty for her 90th birthday, which was respectfully declined.
He said: “I actually tried to give the mosaic to the Queen for her 90th birthday.
“I sent a photograph of it to the palace and said she could have it if she wanted, but she said ‘thanks, no thanks’ through her lady-in-waiting. Apparently, they’re not allowed to accept gifts, but it’s quite satisfying to know that she’s seen it and knew about it.”
Now following Queen Elizabeth II’s death last week, Rick thought “it was the right time to try and do something good” with the unique artwork.
He explained: “When she passed last week, I thought it was the right time to try and do something good with the mosaic.
“I never sold the mosaic, but it did get me some commissions at the time to create similar coin mosaics, so I know there are people out there who like it. I wanted the money it raises to go to an appropriate charity, so I chose Cancer Research UK from a list of charities of which the Queen was a patron.
“I think we've all been touched by cancer in one way, shape, or form, so I think it was the most appropriate choice for a 'universal' good.
“There may be an individual out there who wants this, or it may suit a venue, group or establishment with cause to celebrate the life of Queen Elizabeth II. But whoever wins the auction, wherever they are in the world, I'll make sure it gets there safely.”
The portrait has been listed on eBay, where bids can be made until the auction ends on 19 September, at 09.28am.
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