Saint Helena is a small island in the South Atlantic Ocean which is part of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. The currency of the island is the Saint Helena pound, fixed at parity with the pound sterling. The island has authorised some private mints to issue coins under its jurisdiction, which come in a variety of sizes - including in the popular gold quarter ounce (1/4 oz gold) format, usually denominated as £2.
The 2022 Goddess Hera design introduces a new coin series which will tell the stories of the Goddesses of Ancient Greek and Norse mythology.
The Mint says about it:
Despite originating in ancient myths and legends, Goddesses inform modern life perhaps more than we realise. Their mythology, religious legends, history and folk tales influence movies, TV shows, museum exhibits and famous brands such as cameras and running shoes. Theirs are stories of intricate family sagas, wars fought by powerful dynasties, love found and lost, the worlds of nature and magic and the realms of gods and men, featuring fantastical creatures and characters who inspire our imaginations and codes of living. Morals, virtues, beliefs and ethics are all integral to the mythology of the Goddesses.
The series starts with Hera, wife and sister of the mighty Zeus, one of the twelve principal deities of the Greek pantheon who lived upon Mount Olympus. “Queen of the Immortals is she, surpassing all in beauty: she is the sister and wife of loud-thundering Zeus, the glorious one whom all the blessed throughout high Olympos reverence and honour even as Zeus who delights in thunder”.
Hera was Queen of the Gods, wife of Zeus and mother to the Olympian Gods Ares and Hephaestus. Zeus had many affairs and Hera often punished his lovers and illegitimate children for the shame they brought upon her. As a result, as well as her beauty and faithfulness, she is known for her temper, fury and vengeance. But despite her anger, Hera became step-mother to many of these children, earning her reputation as the Goddess of family, children and women. Hera’s sacred animals include the cuckoo and the peacock. A legend by Ovid describes how Zeus fell in love with Io, one of Hera’s priestesses. Raging with jealousy, Hera turned Io into a cow and gave her to Argus, her all-seeing giant with 100 eyes, to guard her. Zeus took pity on Io and ordered his messenger, Hermes, to kill Argus and rescue her. But Hera had guessed what was coming and, before Hermes could hypnotise and murder Argus, she removed the 100 eyes from the giant and placed them on the tail of a peacock in honour of her faithful servant.
The obverse of the coin depicts the crowned old bust of Queen Elizabeth II facing right, wearing the Royal Diamond Diadem crown worn for her Coronation (effigy known as the "Fifth Portrait" worldwide but "Sixth Portrait" in Australia, where the Queen's portrait by Vladimir Gottwald was fifth).
The Queen also wears the Coronation Necklace; originally made for Queen Victoria in 1858, it was also worn at the coronations (as Queen's Consort) of Queen Alexandra in 1902, Queen Mary in 1911 and Queen Elizabeth (the Queen mother) in 1937.
Unlike on British coinage, the effigy is "uncouped" (includes the Queen's shoulders). In small letters on the left, the artist's initials JC (for Jody Clark).
Running continuously around the rim is the monarch's legend, the date of issue and the face value: ELIZABETH II · D · G · REG · F · D · ST. HELENA · 2022 · 2 POUNDS ·. Translated from Latin: Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen, Defender of the Faith, Saint Helena.