Royal Mint Arthurian Legend Masterpiece Gold and Silver Medals

The Royal British Mint recently unveiled the third in a series of medals which are created to showcase the skill and craftsman ship of Royal Mint engravers. The gold and silver medals for this year are designed by Lee Robert Jones and inspired by the legend of King Arthur.

The obverse of the medal depicts Arthur as a Warrior King defeating the Saxons as Merlin stands in the background. The battlefield is shown with mist and smoke rising into the air and the dragon flags planted by the cavalry symbolizing victory. The reverse depicts Arthur as a wounded and defeated King offering his sword Excalibur to his Knight Bedivere. In the background appear Arthur’s wife Guinevere embracing Lancelot and Arthur’s half sister Morgana holding her staff with a raven atop.

Both the gold and silver medals feature the same intricate design and are struck in high relief. Both are oversized to provide a large canvas for the work. The .999 silver coin has a weight of 250 grams (8.04 troy ounces) and diameter of 80 mm. The .999 gold coin has a weight of 313 grams (10.06 troy ounces) and diameter of 65 mm.

As might be expected, these are extremely limited in mintage and premium priced. The silver medal has an issue limit of 500 and is £695.00, and the gold medal has a limit of just 25 and is priced at £23,500.00. The product pages can be found here and here.

What I like most about these medals and why I wanted to highlight them is the concept of the series. Coin design can be restrained by legal or other requirements for the depiction, the specifications of the particular series, and/or the inclusion of required inscriptions. This of course comes with the medium, but it is great to see the artists work in a format ideally suited to showcasing skill and craftsmanship.

From the Royal Mint’s own description of the Masterpiece series:

The Masterpiece is defined by attention to detail at every level; the medal is always highly intricate and immaculately struck to a high relief. The intention is to embody the history and heritage of the specialist art of engraving, the result of originality coupled with the quality of execution.

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Comments

  1. PATRICK says

    I am tempted to order the silver medal. It truly is a Masterpiece!
    This is the first that I have heard of the series. When did it start and what other Masterpiece medals have been produced? Thanks.

  2. says

    These coins are breathtaking in their beauty and artistry.
    Gold could drop to $100 per ounce (unlikely) and their value would still exceed what they are being sold for.

  3. Shutter says

    their value would still exceed what they are being sold for.

    Really? You’re kidding, right?

    I agree with Wes. They should make an affordable version. Not too many people ready to drop $36K for one of these.

    I am also curious why the heavier gold medal has a smaller diameter than silver.

  4. M says

    Beautiful medal for sure. But if you want similar for less, Franklin Mint struck many antique silver art medal series in the 70’s. They can be picked up on Ebay for not much more than melt…and were sculpted as good as or better than these. Waterloo by Pistrucci, Vita Christi, etc…all great medal programs.

    For example: http://www.franklin-mint-silver.com/old-testament-by-monti.htm

    But still these Royal Mint medals are fantastic. I like them all!

  5. T1 browserman says

    Not sure if others know but if you establish an account with the Royal Mint the actual price of this 8 troy ounce silver offering is actually 579.17 pounds (approx $925 which includes shipping to US) but if you visit the site it states the higher price of 695 pounds ($1106 with shipping). Again, this laptop does not accommodate foreign currency signs.

    The gold offering, however, remains the same as noted in the article. Only silver offerings get this strange reduction in price as a customer; does WMNB have a clue why this is done ?

    If I were not indebted to the 5 oz ATB-P series I would love to take the plunge as this is a true work of art in both PM’s with 80 mm just over 3 inches…..(mighty tempting)

  6. T1 browserman says

    The only intel I was able to muster was a small blurb within the Royal Mint’s announcement of this 2012 offering which stated that the first masterpiece medal (2010) was of St. George and the Dragon and that George Summers was the Chief Engraver; scoured the internet to no avail to get a picture but did turn up two 2011 masterpiece offerings on e-bay….1 in US @ $2000 or BO and 1 in UK for approx $1331. I’m still looking for that 2010….has to be somewhere.

  7. T1 browserman says

    To find the blurb I searched the Royal Mint –> About the Royal Mint–>News and Media; then scroll down to 02 July 2012 article.

  8. Shutter says

    does WMNB have a clue why this is done ?

    Gold is not subject to UK’s VAT, so the price is the same regardless of where you ship it. Silver is subject to VAT, so if you’re getting it shipped outside of UK, you get a break. At least a couple of other countries in Europe have the same rules.

    In case you didn’t know, VAT is what we call sales tax in US. In most of the world, price quoted includes VAT, and you only see discounted price if the purchase is explicitly exempt from VAT. If you do the math, you’ll notice that the VAT here works out to 20%. It’s much easier to raise taxes if the marks (taxpayers) aren’t reminded all the time how much are they paying.

    Also, if you buy in person, some purchases are eligible for refund of VAT once you take the stuff out of the country.

  9. Hidalgo says

    @Michael – another lunar dragon…. Must be dragon burnout – the coin is still for sale…

  10. says

    Michael,

    While the new dragon is something I am planning to buy, sales of the colored varieties have slowed dramatically for the most part. The last two are still widely available. I’ll be picking this one up with the snakes next month.

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