What are the Royal Mint’s Queen’s Beast Coins?

With the introduction of a new One Ounce Gold Queen’s Beast Unicorn 2018, I thought it prudent to write a brief history about the Monarch’s heraldic beasts and an overview of the Royal Mint’s One Ounce Gold series. The Royal Mint plan to mint a set of ten coins over the coming years, with two designs minted in a singular year. In gold, the coin is produced as a one ounce, 1/2 ounce, 1/4 ounce and a 1/10th ounce denomination. The coins will also be produced as a two ounce silver coin, although some 10oz silver coins are also likely to be produced.

History of the Queen’s Beast

The Queen’s Beasts are ten heraldic beasts that were present at Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953. Each of the beasts represents an element of the Queen’s genealogy. The use of the heraldic beasts actually derive it’s history from Henry VIII’s era and were originally known as the “King’s Beasts”. For the coronation in 1953, the Henry VIII’s beasts were revived from their 400 year origins and displayed aloft outside Westminster Abbey. The beast designs used in 1953, were commissioned by the British Ministry of Works and were created by Sculptor, James Woodford.

Queen’s Beast – The Heraldic List with Release Dates

Name History Year of Mintage Release Date
The Lion of EnglandQueen's Beast: One Ounce Gold Lion 2016 The lion of England has been displayed at part of the Royal Arms from circa. the 15th century. The Lion is famously taken from the coats of arms of  Richard I, famously known as “The Lionheart” due to his reputation as a great military leader and warrior King. 2016 March 2016
The Griffin of Edward IIIQueen's Beast: One Ounce Gold Griffin 2017 King Edward III another exceptional warrior King, who reigned from 1312-1377. During his Kingship, he oversaw a military transformation within the Kingdom. He is most accredited with the initial start of what would become to be known as the ‘Hundred Years War’ with the French. His most famous victories were at Crecy and Poitiers. The Griffin itself is a mythical animal that signified courage, strength and importantly for Edward III, Guardianship. 2017 October 2016
The Red Dragon of WalesQueen's Beast: One Ounce Gold Dragon 2017 The enigmatic image of the Red Dragon of Wales, has been present as a crest of the British Monarchy from the time of Henry VII. The Dragon of Wales was sported by Henry VII’s grandfather Owen Tudor, who descended from Welsh Royalty. Henry VII no doubt adopted the Red Dragon during a time of consolidating his throne after the Wars of the Roses. 2017 March 2017
The Unicorn of ScotlandQueen's Beast: One Ounce Gold Unicorn 2018 The Unicorn of Scotland is the national animal of Scotland. Whilst at first glance, the Unicorn being a mythical animal, might seem an unusual choice for an adoption by a country as a national animal. However, the Unicorn was first adopted as a heraldic animal for the Scottish monarchy in the 12th century. The Unicorn symbolises purity, masculinity and power. 2018 25th September 2017
The Black Bull of Clarence The Black Bull of Clarence, as the name suggests, descends from the peerage of the Duke of Clarence, often given to younger members of the Royal family. The use of the Black Bull originates from Edward IV of England, a successful protagonist of the House of York during the wide spanning War of the Roses. The Black Bull symbolises strength, courage and nobility. 2018 March 2018
The Falcon of the Plantagenets The Falcon of the Plantagenets was first adopted by Edward III. The falcon being of noble bearing, a dominant predator of the skies displaying courage and intelligence. The Falcon emblem subsequently passed down to Edward IV, who further added the Falcon in between a fetterlock, which supposedly symblolised Edward IV’s struggle to win his throne. TBD TBD
The White Greyhound of Richmond This is the emblem of John of Gaunt, the Earl of Richmond and third son of Edward III. This badge was used successfully by his son Henry IV (Henry Bollingbroke) and then by Henry VI to establish conjoining of the two Royal House of York and Lancaster. TBD TBD
The White Horse of Hanover In 1714 the White Horse of Hanover was introduced to the Royal Coat of Arms. This marked a new direction for the British Monarchy, as the Elector of Hanover George I, ascended the Throne. The use of the horse as a crest in Saxony/Hanover, had been present from the pagan Saxon Tribes. The white horse was first used by Henry the Lion, famed Duke of Saxony. TBD TBD
The Yale of Beaufort The Yale was a mythical creature, sometimes known as a centicore. The Yale with it’s boar tusks and large commanding horns, had the body of an Ibex. The Yale symbolised fierceness in battle, strength, courage and fortitude. TBD TBD
The White Lion of Mortimer The White Lion of Mortimer, once again descending from Edward IV. Unlike the Lion of England it is an uncrowned Lion. The Mortimer name descended from Sir Edmund Mortimer whose ancestors would marry Plantagenets and whose issues would eventually inhabit the throne of England. This emblem was famously a ‘Yorkist’ beast and used to great effect in the Wars of the Roses. TBD TBD