We have some exciting news for you today. A striking new gold and silver bullion coin range is available on the Royal Mint Bullion website. The Queen’s Beasts bullion coin range is a series of new designs based on the 10 heraldic beasts, which begins with the Lion of England.
As well as introducing a range of striking designs to our bullion portfolio, The Queen’s Beasts range also provides a new option for silver investors. A new two-ounce silver bullion coin, struck to 999.9 fineness, is introduced alongside 1 oz and ¼ oz gold versions – the first time an official two-ounce United Kingdom silver bullion coin has been struck. In the UK, The Queen’s Beasts bullion coins will be exclusively available from www.royalmintbullion.com.
The design and its designer
Coin collectors and bullion investors alike will be excited to learn that a rather familiar ‘JC’ appears on the Lion of England bullion coin design. That is the ‘JC’ of highly-praised Royal Mint Coin Designer, Jody Clark – designer of both the 2014 Britannia and Her Majesty The Queen’s Fifth Portrait – who is beginning to become somewhat of a favourite among collectors (and we’re sure investors too). Jody’s previous coin designs have been exciting, modern interpretations and now these mythical, ancient creatures – lions, griffins, falcons, bulls, yales, greyhounds, dragons, unicorns and horses – are sure to receive a similar treatment. That is if Jody’s design for the Lion of England is anything to go by…
Jody’s portfolio makes for impressive reading. In just two years he has tackled major events and numismatic icons alike. His portfolio boasts medals struck to celebrate the 2014 Ryder Cup and 2014 Nato Summit, alongside a United Kingdom coin design in 2014 featuring the numismatic icon that is Britannia. However he will perhaps be best known for creating the latest definitive coinage portrait of Her Majesty The Queen released on United Kingdom coins in 2015, which also features on these bullion coins.
The remaining nine beasts in the Queen’s Beasts series will also be designed by Jody – even more exciting news for what promises to be a popular collection! The Lion of England is the first design to be released in the series of 10 designs, and will soon be followed by the next coin in the series. You can register your interest to find out when the remaining beasts are released, here.
What are The Queen’s beasts?
When Her Majesty The Queen was crowned on 2 June 1953, ten heraldic beasts stood guard outside the coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey. The Queen’s Beasts, as they are known, are a series of statues that were commissioned by the British Ministry of Works and sculpted by James Woodford RA. Standing at six foot high and cast in plaster, the ten statues depict the genealogy of The Queen, with each of the heraldic beasts symbolising the various strands of The Queen’s royal ancestry;
The lion of England, the griffin of Edward III, 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, and the white horse of Hanover – each proud beast used as a heraldic badge by generations.
After the coronation ceremony, The Queen’s Beasts were taken to Hampton Court Palace where they stood guard in the Great Hall. At the time, the palace was also home to the King’s Beasts of Henry VIII, a series of statues that lined the bridge over the moat, from which James Woodford took inspiration for The Queen’s Beasts statues. While The Queen’s Beasts were relocated to Windsor Castle four years later, the King’s Beasts statues remain at Hampton Court Palace today, still lining the bridge over the moat.
After a short stay at Windsor Castle The Queen’s Beasts were taken into storage. Today they can be found at the Canadian Museum of History in Quebec, Canada. If you’re not travelling to Canada any time soon, Portland stone replicas, which were also carved by the original sculptor James Woodford RA, 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 in this new bullion coin series. It is perhaps one of the more familiar beasts in the series, given it’s appearance on the Royal Arms – the arms of the monarch and the United Kingdom. It is one of two beasts to feature on the Royal Arms, as both the Scottish Unicorn and the English Lion are shown supporting a quartered shield.
The crowned golden Lion of England has been one of the supporters of the Royal Arms since King James I came to the throne in 1603, but the symbol of a lion has represented 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 twelfth century, lions have appeared on the coat of arms of every British monarch.
Have The Queen’s Beasts featured on other coins?
This isn’t the first time that these heraldic beasts have featured on United Kingdom coins. In fact two of the beasts in particular, the Lion of England and the Unicorn of Scotland, feature on several coin designs. Of course it’s those designs which feature arrangements of the Royal Arms.
Check your change and share your Queen’s Beasts Coin Hunt finds with us on Twitter and Instagram using #coinhunt and #beastsoncoins.
The Queen’s Beasts bullion coins offer more than striking designs…
The Queen’s Beasts bullion coin range also provides a new option for silver investors, with the new two-ounce bullion silver coin introduced alongside 1 oz and ¼ oz gold versions. It is the first time an official two-ounce UK silver bullion coin has been struck and it adds another silver investment option to the Royal Mint Bullion website, which currently includes a 1oz Britannia coin and 1kg and 500g silver cast bars. The Queen’s Beasts bullion coins will be exclusively available in the UK from www.royalmintbullion.com.