There are few coin collectors that don’t look forward to the next release in the Royal Mint’s superb ‘The Queen’s Beasts’ coin range, whether it be the bullion variants, or the beautiful proof coins we’re looking at here. Now on its eighth proof release, although the bullion version will be the ninth, we’re very close to the end of this ten-coin series.
We’ve been through the backstory of the range several times before, so let’s jump straight to this latest entrant, the White Horse of Hanover. Technically the first true horse, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention there has been a unicorn in the series as well, given the fundamental similarity. Series designer Jody Clark has managed to make this one distinctly different with a classic semi-realistic, but heraldic-inspired depiction of a rearing horse.
The shield in the foreground features one of the many iterations of the House of Hanover’s coat of arms. Heraldry, particularly something as old and important as the one shown on this coin, is far too complex a subject to be encapsulated here, but suffice to say, it can trace its lineage back several centuries and every element on it, and there are more than usual on this one, has a meaning, or association. There are literally scores of variations, but basically, it represents the countries in the Union, as well as France, with whom Britain has a complex, intertwined history. From our perspective, it looks terrific, almost a microcosm of what this series is about.
The obverse is the usual Jody Clark effigy of Queen Elizabeth II – the Royal Mint never really making changes to this face of their coins. Each proof coin is boxed with a C.O.A., although there’s also an unlimited mintage base-metal variant mounted in a blister card which is packed with information. There have been some slight price rises on this one, but given the volatility in the metals spot price at the moment, they’re small and understandable. As usual, and despite only being available for a few hours, the big gold coins are already sold out, and the silver versions are rapidly disappearing as well. Hardly surprising given what a top flight series this has become.