The Czech Mint finishes up its four-coin romp through the legend of King Arthur with the final pair

The legend of King Arthur is one of the most potent in medieval history, so it’s of little surprise it appears on coins with some regularity. While many of these are higher end numismatics, it’s always pleasing to see the more affordable end of the market get some attention. This four coin set by the Czech Mint is a great example.

We’ve already covered the first two in a previous article, so head on over there for fuller details, and we’ll restrict ourselves to an update here. Designed by Czech Mint regular, Asamat Baltaev, each coin takes one part of the famous story and depicts it in a single scene. After Mordred and the Lady in the Lake, we have Lancelot & Guinevere, and Merlin & the Dragons for the final two. Both look good, especially the Merlin coin, and have completed what is an attractive set costing around the same as a single higher end issue.

These are one ounce fine silver coins struck to a proof finish, neatly presented and with a small 1,000 mintage. There’s an optional collectors tin available for just €10 as well. All coins in the set are now available.

MINTS DESCRIPTION – GUINEVERE AND LANCELOT

Arthur’s legendary comrades-in-arms were the knights who sat with him at a round table where all were equal. They included the valiant Gawain, the pure Galahad, the treacherous Mordred and the loyal Lancelot. The first task the king gave Lancelot was to bring him the sprightly Ginevra, who was Arthur’s promised bride. The task looked easy, but as soon as the knight saw his future queen, he fell in love with her. Ginevra returned his feelings, but her commitment to her betrothed was stronger. Lancelot then tried to forget his love in his many adventures, but in vain.

When Queen Ginevra was kidnapped by Arthur’s enemy Maleagant, Lancelot besieged his castle and rescued his lady. Although both were deeply devoted to Arthur, they could no longer resist the love that flared between them after this event. When Arthur learned of their betrayal, he declared war on Lancelot. Taking advantage of the chaos, Mordred declared himself the new King of England and clashed with Arthur in a battle that cost them their lives… Ginevra and Lancelot suffered from feeling of guilt and decided to retire. The queen gave up her crown and became a nun, the knight gave up his arms and lived the rest of his life as a hermit.

MINTS DESCRIPTION – MERLIN AND DRAGONS

King Arthur may have had his knights, his queen and his miraculous sword, but his most loyal companion was the wizard Merlin. The story of the legendary wizard began when the Saxons invaded Britain. The Celtic King Vortigern was unable to resist them, so he turned to the wise men who advised him to build a magnificent castle. However, the site they chose for construction was cursed – no matter how hard the builders worked, they found their work demolished every morning. The wise men decided that the restless ground must be sprinkled with the blood of a boy whose father was not mortal. After a long search, such a youth was found and brought before the king to be sacrificed. His Welsh name was Myrddin, but today we know him as Merlin.

The boy did not ask for mercy. Instead of that, he revealed to Vortigern what was causing the destruction of his castle – dragons sleeping in an underground cave. The curious king ordered the workers to dig into the dragon’s lair, and once they did, they saw two lizards indeed. They woke up and started fighting each other. The white dragon was defeated and had to flee. The red dragon, which had won, went to sleep, and the construction could continue. The grateful king dedicated his castle to Merlin, who then became a legendary wizard, druid and prophet in the service of the British rulers. Vortigern was followed by Pendragon, and finally Arthur, whom Merlin raised after he was orphaned. Arthur valued the wizard for his powerful magic and wise counsel…

SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION $1 NZD (Niue)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 31.1 grams
DIMENSIONS 37.0 mm
FINISH Proof
MODIFICATIONS None
MINTAGE 1,000
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes
CZECH MINT