Springing from nowhere back in August 2015, Choice Mint has rapidly earned itself an enviable reputation among the legions of modern coin collectors with its first two coins. Producer of the superb Legends of Asgard series, of which Odin and the Valkyrie have been released to date, they’ve set a high bar for themselves when it comes to producing the ‘difficult second album’ as they say in music circles. Fear not, Arthur is here, with a little help from SmartMinting.
Sticking with the myths and legends of old, the theme of this series is one that is surprisingly under-represented in numismatics, namely the Arthurian legends. Rich in detail, the story of King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, Merlin and Excalibur have captivated people for over a thousand years. Taking the impressive levels of high relief present in the Legends of Asgard series, this new coin seems to have increased the quality of the detail to a very high level.
Struck in two ounces of fine silver, one ounce lighter than Asgard, King Arthur is to be the first of six coins released two-per-year. The design, in our view at least, surpasses Legends of Asgard, itself widely seen as one of the best series of coins on the market today. Instead of the usual antique finish that is almost universal in this genre, this one incorporates a mix of proof, polished and matte finishes to give the coin depth and an added level of realism. Depicting Arthur, crown on head and in full armour, holding the legendary sword Excalibur, it’s a classic pose. The background is a super mix of castle fortifications and stone bridge all set over water. Only the coin title is inscribed on this face, keeping everything distraction-free.
The obverse is particularly clever. The Queens effigy that is required for Cook Islands issues, sits in the middle of the iconic Round Table as seen from above. Surrounding the table and set around the rim, are twelve knights, helmets in hand, and holding the swords inwards in the classic pose. Details are again, quite superb. There’s a good level of relief and each of the knights appears to be slightly different. A great example of the level of care and attention that Choice have invested in their coins.