The Royal Mint’s newest bullion coin is a real beast.
The Royal Mint on March 29 unveiled a new series of gold and silver
bullion coins depicting “The Queen’s Beasts,” a series of 10 creatures
that appear on statues and that have featured in British royal
heraldry throughout hundreds of years. The series will be introduced
one “beast” at a time, starting with the gallant Lion of England, by
British coin designer Jody Clark. The coin also bears Queen Elizabeth
II’s fifth portrait, also by Clark.
Head of bullion sales for the Royal Mint, Nick Bowkett, said, in a
press release: “The introduction of The Queen’s Beasts series brings
an exciting new series of bullion coins to investors around the globe.”
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The program offers the designs in three versions, quarter-ounce and
1-ounce gold coins, and, for the first time ever, a 2-ounce .9999 fine
The new coins take their place in the Royal Mint’s bullion range
alongside the flagship gold sovereign and gold and silver Britannia
bullion coins, as well as the Royal Mint Refinery range of gold and
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The silver coin is denominated £5, the quarter-ounce gold coin is
denominated £25, and the 1-ounce gold coin bears a £100 denomination.
All are .9999 fine and sport a bullion finish.
About the designs
Inspiration for this series has been taken from The Queen’s Beasts
sculptures, each standing at about two meters (6 feet, 7 inches) tall,
originally created by James Woodford for the coronation ceremony of
Queen Elizabeth II, held in Westminster Abbey in 1953.
The heraldic creatures symbolized the various strands of royal
ancestry brought together in a young woman about to be crowned queen.
Each beast, used as a heraldic badge by generations that went before
her, was inspired by the King’s Beasts of Henry VIII that still line
the bridge over the moat at his Hampton Court Palace. Today, The
Queen’s Beasts can be found at the Canadian Museum of History in
Quebec, while Portland stone replicas, also carved by Woodford, watch
over Kew Gardens in the United Kingdom.
The Lion of England
The Lion of England is the first of the beasts to be introduced for
this new bullion coin series.
The Royal Arms are the arms of the monarch, an ancient device that
represents the sovereign. For the arms that represent Queen Elizabeth
II and the United Kingdom, two beasts are shown supporting a quartered
shield, the Scottish Unicorn and the English Lion.
The crowned golden Lion of England has been a supporter of the Royal
Arms since King James I came to the throne in 1603, but the symbol of
a lion has stood for England for far longer. Richard the Lion-heart,
son of King Henry II, is famed for his three golden lions as the Royal
Arms of England, and since the 12th century, lions have appeared on
the coat of arms of every British sovereign.
Designer Jody Clark
Jody Clark is a member of the Royal Mint’s team of graphic designers
Clark has worked on notable projects such as the medals struck to
celebrate the 2014 Ryder Cup and Nato Summit, whilst his contemporary
interpretation of the iconic Britannia was chosen for the celebrated
coin’s 2014 collection.
Clark is best known for creating the latest definitive coinage
portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, released on United Kingdom coins in 2015.
In turning his talents to the reverse designs for The Queen’s Beasts
bullion coins, Clark said in a press release that the original
versions in Canada and the replicas in Kew Gardens “are very stylized
and look imposing as statues, but the challenge was to capture this on
the surface of a coin. I researched the origins of heraldry and coats
of arms, and wanted to replicate the sense of strength and courage
they were designed to convey. I created a sense of movement to make
the beasts bold and dynamic, but the shields they guard still feature
strongly as they are integral to the story.”
He continued: “The lion in my design takes a rampant stance, the
most fierce. I researched imagery of lions in the wild to make sure
that mine had a true likeness to the creature’s character, but I was
careful that it wasn’t too realistic. In this context the lion is a
‘beast’ and I wanted it to feel fantastical, so when it came to areas
like the eyes I kept them blank. Adding too much detail softened the
look and I think this way there is still a sense of sculpture
reflecting the originals.”
The silver coin weighs 62.42 grams and measures 38.61 millimeters in
diameter. It is available singly or in 10-coin tubes.
The gold £25 coin weighs 7.8 grams and measures 22 millimeters in
diameter. It is available singly or in 25-coin tubes.
The gold £100 coin weighs 31.21 grams and measures 32.69 millimeters
in diameter. It is available singly or in 10-coin tubes.
The Queen’s Beasts bullion coins will be exclusively available in
the United Kingdom from the Royal Mint's bullion website.
The Queen’s Beasts bullion coins are also available for purchase via
the Royal Mint’s global wholesale distributor A-Mark.