King Arthur Triumphant on New Cook Islands Coin

(Background image adapted from the title page of The Boy's King Arthur, illustrated by N.C. Wyeth)

(Background image adapted from the title page of The Boy’s King Arthur [1922], illustrated by N.C. Wyeth)

Fans of Arthurian legend—and fans of richly inventive world coins, as well—have a new collectible series to enjoy. Choice Mint has released the first coin, “King Arthur,” in its new, six-coin “Camelot” series, and it is a beauty.

“Camelot” is a joint product of the government and treasury of Cook Islands, Choice Mint, and Coin Invest Trust. Cook Islands has long been associated with beautiful and creative collector coins. Three Cook Islands designs—“Space-Time Continuum,” “Murrine Millefiori Glass Art Coin,” and “Chondrite Meteorite”—were finalists for the 2017 COTY Awards in the “most innovative” category. The mind-bending “Space Time Continuum” beat nine competitors to take the category honor.

The company that produced the King Arthur coin, Choice Mint, is new to the world-coin scene. With only one other project—the ongoing “Legends of Asgard” series—to its credit, Choice Mint has nonetheless made a name for itself. Whereas many high-concept world coins are crudely executed, Choice Mint is deeply invested in excellent design and superb physical production.

These design-and-production tasks were undertaken by Coin Invest Trust, inventors of Smartminting technology. (CIT also struck the “Space Time Continuum” coins for Cook Islands.) Smartminting achieves exceptionally high relief with normal amounts of metal—or, alternatively, normal relief with less metal than conventional methods require. Either way, it also produces very fine detail.

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The resulting “King Arthur” coin succeeds on numerous levels. The reverse design, which depicts the legendary king in a flowing cloak, is beautifully detailed, down to the rivets in the armor. His hands are folded on the pommel of the sword Excalibur, which he has not yet pulled from the famous stone. In the background are the towers of Camelot. The design elements are treated with three different finishes: the king’s armor has a mirrored finish, and the other elements are matte or Proof, as appropriate.

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The obverse is less cinematic, but it’s here that the designer was most innovative. The modern portrait of Queen Elizabeth II is reduced in size and placed at the center of the legendary Round Table. She is surrounded by Arthur’s knights, who are shown as if from above, each holding his helm in one hand and his sword, raised toward the Queen, in the other hand. (On close inspection, one finds that each tiny knight is different from his fellows. This is most noticeable in the hair, which varies from straight to curly, tousled to parted—the knight at eight o’clock is shown to be bald on top.)

The coins are dated 2016 and have a face value of 10 dollars (Cook Islands legal tender). Measuring 50 millimeters, each coin consists of 2 ounces of .999 silver. The mintage is limited to 999. “King Arthur” is available for purchase now and will be followed by “Guinevere” in early 2017.

The limited mintage is distributed among vendors APMEX, Perth Bullion Co., mūnzdachs, Power Coin, The Coin Shoppe, and others.   ❑

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Comments

  1. Erik H says

    I was checking this out last week. It’s very cool but I’ll have to pass on it. I try to only buy NLTCs that only have a modest premium over spot, this coin doesn’t fall into that category (too many of my cool coins have lost money above and beyond the drop in PM prices).

  2. Louis Golino says

    I would note that coins made of 2 oz. of silver that are proof and struck in ultra high relief rarely cost less than this one and usually more, and that the Asgard coins (Choice’s other series) has held their value. I believe the Odin is up from issue price, while all the competing Norse coins are down as far as I recall.

  3. Koichi Ito says

    Did King Arthur really exited? So why not British Royal Mint does not issue any King Arthur commemorative coins?

  4. World Mint News Blog says

    Hi, Koichi Ito — It’s unclear whether Arthur ever existed. The legends may be completely made-up, or they may be the compilation of the stories of several ancient tribal leaders. While I was working on the blog post, I found an interesting article about the possible location of “Camelot.” (It also includes links to other aspects of the legend.) I’d hoped to work information from the article into the blog post, but couldn’t find a way to do it. You might find it interesting: https://goo.gl/PfbbPG

  5. The Pedant King says

    How can he be King Arthur if the sword is still in the stone???

    I think I’ll pass on this legendary quest for profit from an obvious paradox.

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