Updated May 28 2023
In May 2021 the UK's national mint revealed the fourth musical act to star in their groundbreaking Music Legends series. Legendary rockband The Who joined a star-powered lineup with an exclusive collection of officially licensed coinage.
Keep reading for an overview of the series so far and details of the range of The Who coins available from The Royal Mint.
The Music Legends Collection
As the name suggests, we're pretty proud of our island home at The Britannia Coin Company. That said, we're not biased when we claim that the UK is a breeding ground for the planet's best musicians. British artists have been dominating and transforming the world of popular music for decades and it's high time that extraordinary legacy was celebrated on coinage.
Luckily, The Royal Mint is busy with just that, launching their top-selling Music Legends series in early 2020 and keeping up a steady beat of releases since.
It's tough to pick the best British acts – it's a topic of much debate in the BCC office – but Music Legends aims to celebrate some of the greats. Several collections have been released so far, honouring the achievements of Queen, Elton John, David Bowie and The Rolling Stones: all undisputed superstars.
The Royal Mint's 2021 The Who coins represent the fourth addition to the popular Music Legends series.
Available in a range of metals, denominations and finishes, Music Legends coins have been great sellers for The Royal Mint, appealing to collectors, investors and fans alike. Previous designs have made clever nods to the long careers of the artists featured so we can't wait to see what the Mint will come up with in the future.
Are The Who Music Legends?
Formed in London in the early 60s, The Who are cited as an inspiration by acts as diverse as Pink Floyd and Blur, never mind selling more than 100 million records in their own right. They settled on their classic line up in 1964: Roger Daltry as lead vocalist, Keith Moon on drums, John Entwhistle on bass and Pete Townshend tackling lead guitar and song writing. The band soon gained a fanatical following for a string of hit singles like My Generation and Baba O’Riley as well as a distinctive pop art inspired image.
Rock afficionados will tell you that The Who in their heyday were the best live band on earth and we are inclined to agree. Their 1970 Live at Leeds album is hailed by many as the best live album ever made. Their electric stage presence and creative – sometimes destructive – performance techniques were matched with Townshend’s phenomenal compositional skills. It’s his unconventional musical storytelling that powers two pioneering and highly acclaimed rock operas – Tommy (released 1969) and Quadrophenia (1973).
Despite the deaths of Moon and Entwistle, the remaining members of The Who have continued to perform live and release new music, most recently the album WHO in 2019.
Straddling genres and styles with ease, The Who shaped punk, metal, power pop and progressive rock while staying at the top of their game for more than five decades. If The Royal Mint is celebrating the best of British music in their Music Legends series, then The Who are an indisputably good choice.
The Who Music Legends Coin Design
The Who's trademark mod bullseye logo takes centre stage on the reverse of these 2021 coins, in a design imagined by artist Henry Gray. A Union Jack-clad Rickenbacker guitar sits below with a pair of pinball machine flippers, a ball speeding down the neck.
Henry Gray designed 2021 The Who coins, including this two ounce gold proof example graded PF 70 Ultra Cameo by NGC which features a shockwave effect.
Speaking of his The Who coins, Gray said:
'The design had to capture the bands musical flair and reflect the band’s image. The subject had to be instantly recognisable as The Who without actually showing the band.'
The artist was inspired by the band's music and their habit of destroying their instruments on stage.
The pinball motif is a nod to inspired by The Who's 1969 single, Pinball Wizard. Pinball Wizard featured on the band's fourth studio album Tommy. Hailed by critics as The Who's breakthrough, the rock opera was mostly written by guitarist Pete Townshend. The song is written from the perspective of a pinball champion who is impressed by the skills of the album's main character, the deaf and blind Tommy Walker.
Though Townshend didn't rate Pinball Wizard, the song became a fan favourite, thanks to its pop sound. It's among The Who's most famous live pieces, played at almost all of the band's concerts since its debut performance in May 1969. The track has also been covered by a number of other artists, most famously, Elton John for the 1975 film adaption of Tommy. Elton John was the subject of the second collection in the Music Legends series.
The Who performing Pinball Wizard live at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970: one of the most memorable shows of their career.
The obverse of all coins in The Who collection shows Jody Clark's portrait of Queen Elizabeth II with the inscription '· ELIZABETH II · D · G · REG · F · D ·' alongside the denomination. This was the fifth and final definitive coin effigy of Her Majesty the Queen used on her UK coinage, including on commemorative issues like the Music Legends collection.
The one ounce coloured silver proof coin in this release features an alternative edge inscription reading 'PINBALL WIZARD'.
Full 2021 The Who Official Coin Range
The range of coins available in the 2021 The Who collection mirrors previous releases in the Music Legends series. As before, special colour printed editions are available as well as limited edition 24-carat gold proof pieces, offered in very small numbers.
One ounce silver proof coins in the 2021 The Who collection feature colour printed detail.
Click the links below to view our current stock of official The Who coins.
|2021 The Who £5 BU||Cupronickel||28.28g||38.61mm||£5||-|
|2021 The Who £5 Coloured BU||Cupronickel||28.28g||38.61mm||£5||10,000|
|2021 The Who 1/2oz Silver Proof||999 Silver||15.71g||27.00mm||£1||10,000|
|2021 The Who 1oz Silver Bullion||999 Silver||31.21g||38.61mm||£2||25,000|
|2021 The Who 1oz Coloured Silver Proof||999 Silver||31.21g||38.61mm||£2||8,010|
|2021 The Who 2oz Silver Proof||999 Silver||62.42g||40.00mm||£5||550|
|2021 The Who 5oz Silver Proof||999 Silver||156.30g||156.30mm||£10||500|
|2021 The Who 1/4oz Gold Proof||999.9 Gold||7.80g||22.00mm||£25||1,000|
|2021 The Who 1oz Gold Bullion||999.9 Gold||31.21g||32.69mm||£100||2,500|
|2021 The Who 1oz Gold Proof||999.9 Gold||31.21g||32.69mm||£100||350|
|2021 The Who 2oz Gold Proof||999.9 Gold||62.42g||40.00mm||£200||150|
|2021 The Who 5oz Gold Proof||999.9 Gold||156.30g||50.00mm||£500||64|
|2021 The Who 1kg Gold Proof||999.9 Gold||1005.00g||100.00mm||£1000||12|
*LEP stands for 'Limited Edition Presentation' and indicates the number of coins issued by The Royal Mint to collectors worldwide.
As well as 2021 The Who coins we're also stocking a limited range of other Music Legends coins, including from the three previous releases in the series.
Official 2021 The Who coloured Five Pound coins are offered in collectable presentation packaging featuring photos of the band.
Buy Music Legends 2020 Queen
Highly anticipated by both coin collectors and music fans, the inaugural collection in the Music Legends series starred legendary British rock band Queen.
Launched in 2020, the gold proof, silver proof and cupronickel coins in this collection paid tribute to the four band members and their instruments. Brian May's Red Special guitar, Roger Taylor's Ludwig bass drum, John Deacon's Fender Precision bass and Freddie Mercury's Bechstein grand piano are all featured on the reverse of Queen 2020 Royal Mint coins.
Look carefully and you will see the opening notes of Bohemian Rhapsody – the band's best selling, chart topping single – depressed on the keyboard.
Chris Facey’s clean-lined instrument design is shown to beautiful effect on the Queen 2020 quarter-ounce gold proof coin.
2020 UK Music Legends Elton John Coins
The second top British artist to have their legacy celebrated by the Royal Mint via their Music Legends series was Sir Elton John. One of the best-selling music artists of all time with more than fifty UK Top 40 hits, Elton John has collaborated on more than 30 albums with lyricist Bernie Taupin since 1967.
It's the star's famously outlandish dress sense that takes centre stage on the reverse of Elton John's Music Legends coin, crafted by freelance designer, Bradley Morgan Johnson. A music note cleverly suggests a quirky pair of sunglasses while a boater hat references Elton's headgear in the music video for the 1983 single, I'm Still Standing.
At The Britannia Coin Company, we were proud to offer one of only four Elton John 2020 one kilogram gold proof coins as well as a range of other pieces from the collection.
Buy David Bowie 2020 Music Legends
Ziggy Stardust himself headlined the last Music Legends release of 2020.
Creator of music genres and alter egos, centre of debates on sexuality and politics, and a highly intelligent entrepreneur, David Bowie more than deserves his place in the Rock and Roll and Songwriters Hall of Fame. Ever-eccentric, Bowie has inspired and enthralled since he released Space Oddity in 1969, gaining a new following with every reinvention. New fans continue to discover his music, years after his sad passing in 2016.
As Rolling Stone named him the 'Greatest Rock Star Ever' it was probably a given that Bowie would feature in The Royal Mint's series but we were still excited when the designs were revealed.
The design of Jody Clark's reverse, seen here on this David Bowie 2020 one ounce gold proof coin, was inspired by the singer’s time in Berlin, with the instantly recognisable lightning bolt a nod to his Aladdin Sane era.
Sell 2021 The Who Music Legends Coins
Looking to sell your 2021 Royal Mint The Who coins? We buy these Music Legends coins as well as other modern UK collectables for market-leading prices. Visit our Sell Your Coins page or contact us to find out how you can get cash for your The Who coins fast.