Gold Two Ounces 2020 The Three Graces, Coin from Alderney - detailed information

Gold Two Ounces 2020 The Three Graces, Coin from Alderney
CoinGold Two Ounces 2020 The Three Graces

Alderney is one of the Channel Islands (situated in the Channel between England and France), and is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey - a British Crown dependency. As such, it is not a sovereign country, but has operated as a quasi-sovereign entity since the Middle Ages. The island has issued commemorative coins since 1989, denominated in the Alderney Pound - which is a variant of the Pound Sterling and is legal tender on the islands, but not in the United Kingdom.

Apart from the British Royal Mint, the island has also authorised some private mints to issue coins under its jurisdiction, which come in a variety of sizes - including in the large gold two ounces (2 oz gold) format, usually denominated as £200.

This coin is a modern re-issue of the reverse design of The Three Graces pattern crown. Created by the renowned engraver William Wyon early in his decorated career with the Royal Mint, the original coin was a pattern made in 1817 for a Crown denomination produced late in the reign of King George III; it was never circulated but has earned a reputation for its attractive and symbolic reverse. The art world that Wyon was establishing himself in was dominated by neoclassicism. Its proponents were influenced by stories of Ancient Greece and Rome and the simple, symmetrical style they saw in artefacts, engravings and on their Grand Tours of Europe.

William Wyon is undoubtedly one of history’s greatest coin designers. Born in England in 1795, his father was an engraver of medals and coins, his uncle a die engraver, and his cousin Thomas was Chief Engraver of The Royal Mint from 1815 until his untimely death in 1817. So it was perhaps inevitable that young William would pursue a career in the coin industry too. As a 22-year-old Assistant Engraver he created his neoclassical masterpiece: The Three Graces. While it never went into production, around 50 test "Pattern Pieces" were produced which became collectors’ items as Wyon’s reputation grew. His "Young Head" portrait of Queen Victoria graced the coins of her reign for nearly 50 years, while his "Una and The Lion" remains a favourite of collectors to this day.

MintCommonwealth Mint Mint MarkNo mint mark Mintageunknown
Alderney / Gold Two Ounces 2020 The Three Graces - obverse photo

The obverse features the crowned mature effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by Joel Iskowitz. The Queen faces right, and wears the Royal Diamond Diadem crown worn for her Coronation, pearl earrings and a necklace.

The designer's initials JI are incuse on the Queen's shoulder.

Around above, the monarch's legend and the face value: ELIZABETH II · TEN POUNDS · ALDERNEY C. I. (Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen, Alderney Channel Islands).

Below, the date of issue 2020.

Obverse Inscription ELIZABETH II · FIVE POUNDS · ALDERNEY C. I 2020
Alderney / Gold Two Ounces 2020 The Three Graces - reverse photo

Within a beaded border, the reverse features, from left to right, the female representations of Ireland, England and Scotland. They are identified by the implements at their feet - respectively a harp, a shield bearing the cross of St George and an oversized thistle; additionally, the also carry floral symbols in their crowns: shamrocks, roses and more thistles. The engraver's name W. WYON. is to the left of the harp.

England, (or maybe Britannia), is perhaps the elder sister, standing taller than the other women who look at her with affection. This is an idealised representation of the union between the three nations, formed as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801. Wales is not represented here, but then that would have disrupted the neat parallel with the three charities of Greek mythology.

The design owes much to Antonio Canova's famous statue, The Three Graces - hence the coin's nickname; however, the figures in the statue are naked while those on the coin are fully dressed, in Classical style.

The inscription around above, interrupted by the figures, reads FOEDUS INVIOLABILE (Inviolable League).

In the exergue, a crossed palm frond and a ship's rudder. The palm frond symbolises both victory - reminding of the recent victory at Waterloo - and peace. The ship's rudder is a symbol of the British maritime might.

Reverse Inscription FOEDUS INVIOLABILE
EdgeMilledEdge InscriptionNone

Finish: Proof FDC.
Packaging: in presentation box, with a Certificate of Authenticity.

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Gold Two Ounces 2020 The Three Graces: Details
CurrencyAlderney Pound
Coin TypeGold Two Ounces (2 oz)
MonarchQueen Elizabeth II
EffigyQueen Elizabeth II - Portrait by Joel Iskowitz
Face Value10 (x Pound)
Material0.9167 Gold
DesignerWilliam Wyon
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
OrientationMedal Alignment (Axis 0)
Size38.6100 mm
Mass62.2000 g
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Gold Two Ounces 2020 The Three Graces: Photos
Gold Two Ounces 2020 The Three Graces: Photo Alderney, Elizabeth II, gold proof ten pounds, 2020 / thumbnail Alderney, Elizabeth II, gold proof ten pounds, 2020
Copyright: Coin Archives
Gold Two Ounces 2020 The Three Graces: Photo Alderney, Elizabeth II, gold proof ten pounds, 2020 / thumbnail Alderney, Elizabeth II, gold proof ten pounds, 2020
Copyright: Coin Archives