The Royal Mint is one of the world’s oldest organisations, shaping and leading the minting industry for over 1,000 years. As key players in the bullion market, the mint provides customers with the security and quality that they would expect from a leading mint, but it is also important the mint offers a large range to chose from. The latest addition to our bullion range takes its inspiration from hundreds of years of royal heraldry. The Queen’s Beasts bullion coins not only provide a new option for those looking to invest, but the range also includes a two-ounce coin – the first time an official two-ounce United Kingdom bullion coin has been struck.
At the coronation of Her Majesty The Queen, ten heraldic beasts stood guard. The Queen’s Beasts, sculpted by James Woodford RA for the coronation ceremony held in Westminster Abbey in 1953, stand six feet tall. The heraldic creatures symbolised the various strands of royal ancestry brought together in a young woman about to be crowned queen. Each proud beast, used as an 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 James Woodford, watch over Kew Gardens in the United Kingdom. But these mythical, ancient creatures – lions, griffin, falcon, bull, yale, greyhound, dragon, unicorn and horse – have gone on to inspire a new artist.
The Royal Mint’s established bullion portfolio continues to grow with a new series of gold and silver bullion coins. The coins will depict one of the The Queen’s Beasts, reimagined by a highly-praised new talent, Royal Mint Coin Designer Jody Clark. Jody created the latest definitive coinage portrait of The Queen to appear on United Kingdom coins. His bold interpretations of the Lion of England will be the first coin to be released.
The Royal Arms are the arms of the monarch, an ancient device that represents their sovereignty. 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 one of the supporters of the Royal Arms since King James I came to the throne in 1603, but the lion has stood for England far longer. Richard the Lionheart, son of 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 sovereign.