On December 9, 2016, the Royal Mint will release the second of 10 coins in the “Queen’s Beasts” series. The first coin was released in March 2016.
The original Queen’s Beasts were a series of statues representing the lineage of Queen Elizabeth II. For her coronation in 1953, a temporary annex was built at the entrance to Westminster Abbey. Guarding the west wall of the annex were 9 of the 10 heraldic statues, each about 2 meters tall and bearing the shield of the family in her lineage that the beast represented. The 10th statue, the Lion of England (which appears on the monarch’s current arms and has appeared on British coinage), was placed at the entrance that the Queen would use to enter the abbey. After the coronation the beasts spent time at Windsor Castle and in storage, then were sent to Canada, where they’re currently in the Canadian Museum of History in Quebec. Replicas of the beasts carved from Portland stone range along the front of the Palm House at Kew Gardens in the United Kingdom.
The first coin in the series, depicting the Lion of England, is shown above. The lion and the other nine beasts are the work of Royal Mint sculptor Jody Clark, who reimagined the original statues for the coinage. The Queen’s Beasts provided a first to the Royal Mint’s line of bullion coins: a 2-ounce silver issue (shown here) with a face value of £5, alongside the 1-ounce (£100) and 1/4-ounce (£25) issues.
The griffin was a chosen emblem of Edward III, who had it engraved on his private shield with the Round Tower of Windsor Castle, above which flies the Royal Standard, all embraced by two oak branches and surmounted by the Royal Crown. On the reverse of the bullion coin, shown above, the griffin’s wings are spread as it proudly guards the shield of Edward III before a background of chain mail. The legend GRIFFIN OF EDWARD III along with the weight, fineness, and date of issue, surround the central device.
The obverse of the coin features the fifth definitive portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II, by Royal Mint coin designer Jody Clark. The denomination appears in the surrounding legend.
|£100||.9999 gold||32.69 mm||1 oz.||Brilliant Unc.|
|£25||.9999 gold||22 mm||1/4 oz.||Brilliant Unc.|
|£5||.9999 silver||38.61 mm||2 oz.||Brilliant Unc.|
The other coins in the series, whose release dates are to be determined, are:
- the Falcon of the Plantagenets
- the Black Bull of Clarence
- the Yale of Beaufort
- the White Lion of Mortimer
- the White Greyhound of Richmond
- the Red Dragon of Wales
- the Unicorn of Scotland
- the White Horse of Hanover
You can read more about the Queen’s Beasts, both the statues and the coinage series, here, as well as on World Mint News Blog’s sister site, Coin Update. The coins can be purchased directly from the Royal Mint’s bullion division. International orders re dispatched where applicable. The 2016 and 2017 Queen’s Beasts coins can also be purchased from APMEX.