Like many other mints, the Royal Mint issues bullion coins in precious metals, having much higher intrinsic value than their face value. Most of these by tradition are measured in troy ounces of fractions thereof, but the mint also introduced metric coins measuring one kilogram of pure metal, then also two, five and seven kilograms (they are actually fractionally heavier as a whole, to account for the small amount of other metal in the alloy), and finally in 2021 a ten kilogram coin.
The 10 kg gold coin is denominated as Ten Thousand Pounds (£10,000), although the intrinsic (bullion) value is much higher than the face value.
The coins are legal tender but are not intended for circulation. They are targeted at collectors who appreciate the special editions as pieces of art or show pieces.
This coin type completes the Queen's Beasts series and combines all the Beasts in one image.
The Queen's Beasts are British coins issued by the Royal Mint in platinum, gold, and silver since 2016. Each of the coins in the series features a stylised version of one of the heraldic Queen's Beasts statues present at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, representing her royal line of ancestry. Engraver Jody Clark designed the entire series; he is best known for also designing the Queen's Fifth definitive portrait, which is on the obverse of the coins - so he is in the rare position of having designed both sides.
The Queen's Beasts heraldic statues representing the genealogy of Queen Elizabeth II stood in front of the temporary western annexe to Westminster Abbey for the Queen's coronation in 1953. Each of The Queen's Beasts consists of an heraldic beast supporting a shield bearing a badge or arms of a family associated with the ancestry of Queen Elizabeth II. They were commissioned by the British Ministry of Works from sculptor James Woodford. The statues were uncoloured except for their shields at the coronation. They are now on display in the Canadian Museum of History. There are other statues of the Queen's Beasts, sometimes referred to as the King's Beasts, at Hampton Court Palace and Kew Gardens in London, and on the roof of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.
The Royal Mint says:
"For the series finale, Jody was set the formidable challenge of capturing all ten beasts side by side in a single design. The result is a remarkable feat of miniaturisation, testament to his deft touch and the skills he has honed working in this format. The visual impact is both impressive and immediate. Presented together on one coin, these magnificent royal guardians - lions, a griffin, a falcon, a bull, a yale, a greyhound, a dragon, a unicorn and a horse - exude the power and symbolism associated with the British monarch."
This is the first coin of this size ever made by the Royal Mint. The one-off piece took 400-hours to create, including four days to polish.