This coin is rated MS-69 First Strike by PCGS. The Queen’s Beasts celebrate the British Monarch and the centuries of fascinating heraldry that has been a part of their story.
- Contains 1 oz of .9999 fine Gold.
- PCGS encapsulation authenticates and protects the MS-69 condition of the coin.
- The First Strike designation ensures that this coin was received by PCGS within the first 30 days of release.
- Obverse: Displays the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, along with the face value of 100 pounds.
- Reverse: Features a majestic griffin clutching a shield with it claws as its wings spread to the sky. The metal weight, purity and year are listed around the rim.
- Sovereign coin backed by the British government.
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At the coronation of Her Majesty The Queen, ten heraldic beasts stood guard. The Queen’s Beasts, sculpted by James Woodford RA for the coronation ceremony held in Westminster Abbey in 1953, stand six feet tall. The heraldic creatures symbolized the various strands of royal ancestry brought together in a young woman about to be crowned queen. Each proud beast, used as a heraldic badge by generations that went before her, was inspired by the King’s Beasts of Henry VIII that still line the bridge over the moat at his Hampton Court Palace.
Today, The Queen’s Beasts can be found at the Canadian Museum of History in Quebec, while Portland stone replicas, also carved by James Woodford, watch over Kew Gardens in the United Kingdom. But these mythical, ancient creatures such as the lion, griffin, falcon, bull, yale, greyhound, dragon, unicorn and horse have gone on to inspire the highly-praised new talent, Royal Mint Coin Designer Jody Clark.
The griffin of Edward III Queen's Beast is an ancient mythical beast. It was considered a beneficent creature, signifying courage and strength combined with guardianship, vigilance, swiftness and keen vision. It was closely associated with Edward III who engraved it on his private seal. 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 griffin is a legendary creature with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion; the head and wings of an eagle; and an eagle's talons as its front feet. Because the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts and the eagle the king of birds, the griffin was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature. The griffin was also thought of as king of all creatures. Griffins are known for guarding treasure and priceless possessions.
The minting of coins began in England around the end of the second century B.C. Around A.D. 650, coins were made by craftsmen called “moneyers” in London. In 886, during the reign of Alfred the Great, the London Mint was designated to be a single institution, though there were many other mints in operation around this time. In 1279 the London Mint was moved to the Tower of London where it remained for the next 500 years. Famed physicist Sir Isaac Newton was the Warden of the Mint in 1696 and as such was responsible for investigating cases of counterfeiting. Three years later he was made Master of the Mint, until his death in 1727, and was responsible for moving England from the Silver standard to the Gold standard in 1717.
The Royal Mint had outgrown its home in the Tower of London so during the 18th century the rickety wooden shacks the mint occupied were rebuilt to accommodate mechanized and rolling mills and coining presses and provide more space. Soon, however, the mint outgrew this new location and in 1809, the mint moved from the Tower of London to an adjacent site in East Smithfield called Tower Hill. By 1899, the Royal Mint was striking 100 million coins a year.
In 1967 it was announced that mint would move from its location at Tower Hill to Llantrisant, Wales, following Parliament’s decision to decimalize currency and in 1968 the first coins were officially struck by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the new location in Wales. In 1986, the Royal Mint celebrated 11 centuries of continuous minting. In 2009, the Royal Mint was vested into a government-owned company to provide greater operating and commercial freedom.
One unique aspect of the Royal Mint is a procedure known as the Trial of the Pyx, dates back to 1282 and ensures newly-minted coins meet required government standards. The trials have been held once a each year since their inception and have changed very little over time. These trials are presided over by a judge with a jury of expert assayers and were held at the Palace of Westminster before they were moved to the modern-day site at the Hall of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths. The ceremony was so named after the boxwood chest in which coins were placed for presentation to the jury.