The Queen’s Beasts
The second release from the Queen’s Beast collection, one of the most exciting new programs from the Royal Mint in London, is the 2017 1 oz. British Queen’s Beast Griffin gold coin, featuring the most powerful of mythical beasts. This electrifying 10-coin series is representative of the 10 heraldic beasts captured in statue form during the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. There are 10 designs, with releases scheduled to run through 2021.
This new 10-coin series honors the Queen’s Beasts, a series of statues that were commissioned by the British Ministry. They celebrate the British monarchs and the centuries of fascinating heraldry that have been a part of their story. Each beast symbolizes a different strand of the Royal ancestry, and is used as a heraldic badge by generations in Britain: the Lion of England, the griffin of Edward III, the falcon of the Plantagenets, the black bull of Clarence, the yale of Beaufort, the white lion of Mortimer, the white greyhound of Richmond, the red dragon of Wales, the unicorn of Scotland, and the white horse of Hanover.
The griffin was rumored to be the most powerful, possessing the body of a lion (king of the beasts) and the head and wings of an eagle (king of the birds). It is known for guarding treasure and priceless possessions. It was considered a generous creature, signifying courage and strength combined with guardianship, vigilance, swiftness and keen vision. Edward III had it engraved on his private seal – the same seal that is portrayed on the reverse of the coin, clutched in the claws of the griffin.
In July 2015, the highly appraised new talent, Royal Mint coin designer Jody Clark, developed the first new effigy of Queen Elizabeth II for British coinage since 1998. She was inspired by the mythical, ancient creatures and was tasked with the design of the Queen’s Beasts collection. On the reverse of the coin is the image of the griffin, standing behind the shield of Edward III and clutching it with its two front claws. The shield shows the Round Tower of Windsor Castle, where Edward III was born, with the Royal Standard flying from the turret, enclosed by two branches of oak surmounted by the royal crown. The obverse includes the latest right-profile effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, as referenced above. Engraved over the textured background are the coin’s legal-tender value of £100, and ELIZABETH II, and also the initials of Jody Clark.