Louis Golino has been a collector of American and world coins since childhood and has written about coins since 2009. In addition to writing about modern coins and other numismatic issues for Coin World, he writes a monthly column for The Numismatist magazine and has written for other coin publications. In 2017, for “Liberty Centennial Designs,” in Elemetal Direct, he was presented with the Numismatic Literary Guild's award for best article in a non-numismatic publication. He is also a founding member of the Modern Coin Forum.Visit one of our other blogs:
Choice Mint Launches Camelot Series with King Arthur
The reverse design of the 2016 Cook Islands King Arthur silver Proof coin.
In the span of only a little over a year, a company called Choice
Mint has already managed to distinguish itself from other private
mints through its commitment to excellence and innovation.
With such a dizzying array of world commemorative coins coming out at an ever-increasing pace, what matters is producing coins that are different and memorable and that stand out because they of their designs and minting. And Choice manages to achieve those goals by refusing to compromise on the coin’s quality and execution of the concept.
Choice’s first project was the Legends of Asgard Nordic god series, which so far includes coins for Odin and Valkyrie. While there are many other coins that mine the same subject matter, none of the others manages to achieve the level of artistic excellence and high relief, which Choice calls Max Relief, which distinguish these releases from similar offerings.
Now Choice has launched a second impressive series of coins with a theme based in history and legend, but this time it is a topic rarely seen on coins, namely, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, which was originally popularized in a 1953 novel about the legendary king and his knights.
The Camelot series will consist of six coins with two issued per year, and each coin weighs 2 ounces compared to the Asgard coins, which are 3 ounces each. First up is King Arthur himself, which is being released now, and the second coin will depict Guinevere, which should be out next spring.
The Arthur coin features a combination of multiple finishes – proof, polished, and matte finishes, a stunning design, and is struck ultra-high relief using Coin Invest Trust’s smartminting approach to high relief minting, which I discussed in my article in the February issue.
The coin is Cook Islands legal tender, has a 50-millimeter diameter and a mintage of 999 pieces, and comes in a high-quality box. The retail price if $150.
Brian Tully, President and CEO of Choice Mint, said of the Arthur coin: “The motivation for the coin was really to move Choice Mint in another direction, away from the first series, Legends of Asgard, and show the collector community that Choice is not a one trick pony. We launched Asgard at a very bad time. We had no idea 4 other coin companies had similar series in the works. And honestly in hindsight I would have postponed the series had we not already made dies, purchased the specialized 3 oz blanks and had thousands of boxes made. Also, you have to keep in mind we had Legal Tender approved by the palace in London and that's not an easy task.”
He added that he has completed artwork for the rest of the Asgard series but plans to take his time with the release of those coins because “Collectors don't need to be dumped on with so many choices all at once.”
The third coin, Ymir, will be launched in early spring 2017.
Regarding the new series, Camelot, Mr. Tully said: “I was in a hotel room last year and the 1981 film Excalibur was on. It was one of my favorite films growing up and I still believe it's underrated. So during the scene where the Knights first convene at the Round Table it inspired me. I brought the idea of a Camelot series to our amazing artist who took some direction and ran with it. I think it is a great idea for a coin series that really has never been done on a larger 2oz canvas of silver.”
He then teamed up with Coin Invest Trust in Lichtenstein to have the coins made and was very impressed with their work.
As for the impressive reverse that shows Arthur posing in armor with his famous sword, Excalibur, he noted: “The reverse went through a solid dozen different designs but my artist really did an incredible job making Arthur larger than life. About mid-year I received word that in 2017 a King Arthur movie will be coming out with one of my favorite Sons of Anarchy actors Charlie Hunnam and another great actor Eric Bana. I figured the timing would be good to finish up Arthur and the other characters and to engage CIT to begin work.”
Finally, regarding the innovative obverse that does not simply depict an effigy of Queen Elizabeth, he said: “Why not create an obverse that people will really enjoy with great details? It's well known with Legal Tender we have to have the Queen effigy. So I decided to surround her with the Knights. And since I had a 50mm diameter to work with I then added the Round Table and played around with different surfaces until we agreed on the final product, which I hope collectors agree is the most create use of the obverse in modern coins.”
Initial reaction to the coin based on the images provided by Choice have been very positive in the numismatic blogosphere and will likely become even more widespread once collectors have the coins in hand.
They are shipping now from Choice’s network of distributors, which includes: www.bullionstop.com in the U.S., www.thecoinshoppe.ca in Canada, www.powercoin.it and www.muenzdachs.de in Europe, and www.perthbullion.com in Australia.