After the juggernaut performance of the first two ‘Great Engravers’ coins, the third in the series has some giant-sized shoes to fill. William Wyon continues to provide the inspiration for the series, although this time he engraved a design by Scottish artist William Dyce, the 1847 classic, ‘Gothic Crown’. A heraldic masterpiece, its complexity capped the original mintage at just 8,000 pieces. The Royal Mint have an informative video on the design, which we’ve added below.
Unlike ‘Una and the Lion‘, and the subsequent ‘The Three Graces‘, the ‘Gothic Crown’ moves away from the portrayal of figurative art, instead delving into the world of shields and symbols, so while a continuation of the series, it’s actually a distinctively different piece in comparison. It’s like moving from a Britannia to a Sovereign in style. A classic of the time, and the last of a trilogy of William Wyon designs to adorn coin in the Great Engravers series, its inclusion is well judged.
The new range is as extensive as previous entrants, and sadly, that means it’s almost exclusively a high-end affair. Silver is where we’d expect affordability to be a thing, but the offerings start at a 2 oz coin, passing through three other weights, before landing at a 2 kg coin with a 53 mintage. We don’t expect gold to be a budget affair, of course, but even so, and despite there being seven sizes in the range, they start carrying a £5k price. Indeed, the Gothic Crown tops out with a single TEN KILOGRAM piece, with a sticker price no doubt double that of the average UK house. We’ve said this before, but these deserve to be owned by more collectors, and we’d dearly love to see the mint embrace copper, much like CIT has, for a small range, perhaps 2 oz, 5 oz, 1 kg, and 5 kg.
All the various coins in this range are very well presented, especially the biggest ones, but that’s no more than you would expect at this level. This is to be a two-part release. Wyon produced a strikingly original effigy of Queen Victoria for the coin back in 1846, and next year, the Royal Mint will release a second range, also dated 2021, that will replace the heraldic reverse of the original you see below, with the Victoria obverse. That one will still have a Queen Elizabeth II obverse of its own. We don’t ever remember a coin being celebrated one face at a time, but here it is. The mint will also offer special sets, which will contain one of each issue, along with an original 1847 coin. Honestly, if you can afford it, that will be a coin collector’s dream. A fine release, but one that many simply won’t be able to own, and that’s a shame.