The Unicorn is the second release in the proof series of The Queen's Beasts!
- Contains 1 oz of .999 fine Silver.
- Comes in box and includes a certificate of authenticity. Also accompanied by a booklet produced in collaboration with Clive Cheesman, Richmond Herald of the College of Arms.
- Maximum mintage of 6,250 coins.
- Obverse: Portrays the fifth effigy of Queen Elizabeth II.
- Reverse: Designed by Jody Clark, the design features a majestic unicorn leaping over a shield.
- Guaranteed by The Royal Mint.
When Her Majesty The Queen was crowned in 1953, the entrance to Westminster Abbey was guarded by ten fantastical creatures. The Queen’s Beasts were six-foot tall statues that symbolized the heritage and history Queen Elizabeth II inherited that day. These royal protectors have been brought to life in a collection named in their honor, which began in the year The Queen became the world’s longest reigning living monarch and continues in the year of Her Majesty’s Sapphire Jubilee.
This majestic coin is a must-have for any collection! Add this 2017 Great Britain Proof 1 oz Silver Queen's Beast Unicorn to your cart today!
An enduring symbol of strength and beauty, it’s easy to see how the unicorn came to be used in heraldry. It first appeared on Scottish heraldry in the twelfth century, after William I created an early form of the Scottish coat of arms. James I of England, who united the English and Scottish thrones, chose the Scottish Unicorn to join the Lion of England to support the Royal Arms. They have supported this shield, which symbolizes the sovereignty of Her Majesty The Queen and represents the unity of the United Kingdom, ever since.
The Unicorn of Scotland has been brought to life in a contemporary design by prestigious Royal Mint coin designer Jody Clark, who created the current coinage portrait of Her Majesty. The unicorn is the second release in the collection but eight beasts are soon to follow. Each coin comes with a booklet on the origins of this fantastical beast, which has been produced in collaboration with Clive Cheesman, Richmond Herald of the College of Arms.
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.