“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.
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.
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.