Introducing the Queens Beasts
Starting in 2016, the royal mint issued the first of a series of coins commemorating the Queens Beasts
The Queens Beasts are a series of (10) heraldic statues that represent the genealogy of Queen Elizabeth II and depicted as the royal supporters of England. The British Ministry of Works commissioned Sculptor James Arthur Woodford (1893-1976) for the creation of the statues, he was paid £2,750 for the work. During the Queens Coronation in 1953, the statues stood In-front of the temporary western annexe to Westminster Abbey. Originally mostly unpainted, and made of plaster, such they cannot be left exposed to the elements, after a few relocation's, they are now in the care of the Canadian museum of history and are now fully painted.
The Yale of Beaufort
The Yale was a mythical beast, supposedly white and covered with gold spots and able to swivel each of its horns independently. It descends to
the Queen through Henry VII, who inherited it from his mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort. The shield shows a portcullis surmounted by a royal
crown. The portcullis (uncrowned) was a Beaufort badge, but was used both crowned and uncrowned by Henry VII.
The Red Dragon of Wales
The red dragon was a badge used by Owen Tudor, after the story of the dragon on Llewelyn the Last's castle grounds. His grandson, Henry VII,
took it as a token of his supposed descent from Cadwaladr, the last of the line of Maelgwn. The beast holds a shield bearing a lion in each
quarter; this was the coat of arms of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, the last native Prince of Wales.
The White Horse of Hanover
The White Horse of Hanover was introduced into the Royal Arms in 1714 when the crown of Great Britain passed to the Elector George of Hanover.
This grandson of Elizabeth Stuart, sister of Charles I, became George I, King of Britain, France and Ireland. The shield shows the leopards of
England and the lion of Scotland in the first quarter, the fleur-de-lis of France in the second and the Irish harp in the third quarter. The
fourth quarter shows the Arms of Hanover.
The Unicorn of Scotland
From the end of the 16th century, two unicorns were adopted as the supporters of the Scottish Royal Arms. In 1603, the crown of England passed
to James VI of Scotland, who then became James I of England. He took as supporters of his Royal Arms a crowned lion of England and one of his
Scottish unicorns. The unicorn holds a shield showing the Royal Arms of Scotland, a lion ramping in a royal tressure, adorned with fleur-de-lis.
The Griffin of Edward III
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 Black Bull of Clarence
The Black Bull of Clarence descended to the Queen through Edward IV. The shield shows the Royal Arms as they were borne by Edward IV and his
brother Richard III as well as all the Sovereigns of the Houses of Lancaster and Tudor.
The Falcon of the Plantagenets
The falcon was first used by Edward III of the House of Plantagenet as his badge. It descended to Edward IV, who took it as his personal badge,
the falcon being standing within an open fetterlock. Originally closed, the slightly open fetterlock is supposed to refer to the struggle Edward
IV had to obtain the throne — "he forced the lock and won the throne."
The White Lion of Mortimer
The White Lion of Mortimer descends to the Queen through Edward IV. The shield shows a white rose encircled by a golden sun, known heraldically
as a ‘white rose en soleil’ which is really a combination of two distinct badges. Both of these appear on the Great Seals of Edward IV and
Richard III, and were used by George VI when Duke of York. Unlike the Lion of England, this beast is uncrowned.
The White Greyhound of Richmond
The 10th and final series release is the, The White Greyhound of Richmond was a badge of John of Gaunt, Earl of Richmond, son of Edward III. It was also used by Henry IV and by Henry VII. The Tudor double rose can be seen on the shield, one rose within another surmounted by a crown. It symbolises the union of two of the cadet houses of the Plantagenet - York and Lancaster.
This special series contains 10 designs released between 2016 and 2020, the range includes bullion, silver and gold proof versions. The bullion range includes quarter ounce and one ounce fine gold coins and a two ounce silver version. The much sought after proof coins of the series are of very limited production, ranging from the gold quarter ounce with a mintage of just 1000, to the huge £1000 denominated 1 kilo coin mintage just 10. The silver proof range includes variants from 1 ounce to 10 ounce, and all coins carry the designs of Jody Clark, designer for the Royal Mint also famed for the 5th head portrait introduced in 2015 and now seen on all UK issued coins.