It isn’t often that the British Royal Mint releases new bullion coins, heavily relying on the venerable Britannia range for many years, but three years ago we were treated to the ‘Shēngxiào Collection’ of Lunar coins. Even though the designs split opinion somewhat – we like them a lot – the lunar range has been sucessful enough to prompt the Royal Mint to expand its offering to another range. This time the theme is about as British as can be, a cool thing for us given some of the stunning Britannia and proof coin designs that have appeared from this impressive mint over the last couple of decades.
Called Queens Beasts, this will be a ten coin series in line with the ten heraldic beasts present at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The beasts were 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. The original, quite gaudy (they were painted in heraldic colours), plaster statues now sit in the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau after the Canadian Government took possession of them in July 1959.
If the first coin is any indication, this is going to be a hugely successful series of coins. Jody Clark, the designer of the quite sublime 2014 proof Britannia range, as well as the new Queens’ effigy, has designed the Lion of England and it’s again, a quite superb effort. Quintessentially British, the lion rampant holding the shield is, for me personally at least, one of the best looking new bullion coin for years. Available for now in a one-ounce fine gold format, very shortly there will also be ¼oz gold, and 2oz four-nines silver versions available as well. Both of the latter are available from a US-based bullion dealer, but we’re seeing reports of high minimum quantities and big premiums over spot from them – however the coins should be on general release from the mint in the next week or so. Superb effort from all involved. We hope there’s to be a proof version; a 5oz high-relief silver release would be quite a beautiful coin.