|Coin||Silver Ounce 2017 Unicorn of Scotland|
Like many other mints, the Royal Mint issues bullion coins in precious metals, having much higher intrinsic value than their face value. The one ounce (1 oz) silver coins are denominated as two pounds.
Initially, these were only of the Britannia type, but in 2015 the Royal Mint started to use the format for coins with other types of reverse designs, celebrating various aspects of British heritage.
The coins are legal tender but are not intended for circulation. They are targeted at bullion investors or collectors who appreciate the special editions as pieces of art.
This coin type is the second from a series of ten coin designs known as the Queen's Beasts.
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 stylized version of one of the heraldic Queen's Beasts statues present at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II representing her royal line of ancestry. It was announced that engraver Jody Clark will design the entire series; he is best known for also designing the Queen's Fifth definitive portrait, which is on the obverse of the coins.
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 Unicorn of Scotland comes from the Royal Arms 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 King James VI of Scotland, who then became King 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 silver one ounce coin was issued in a black presentation box, Royal Mint Product Code: UK17QUSP, issue price: £85.00, with issue limit of 6,000 boxed, maximum coin mintage 6,250, in Proof FDC grade only.
||Mint Mark||No mint mark
Crowned old head of Queen Elizabeth II facing right, wearing the Royal Diamond Diadem crown worn for her Coronation (effigy known as the "Fifth Portrait"). Running continuously around the effigy is the monarch's legend: ELIZABETH II · D · G · REG · F · D · 2 POUNDS ·. Translated from Latin: Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen, Defender of the Faith, followed by the value and denomination in English.
In tiny letters below the head, the artist's initials J.C (for Jody Clark).
The reverse features the Unicorn of Scotland standing on its hind legs, holding the Shield of the Royal Arms of Scotland, chained with a coronet around its neck like a collar. According to legend, the unicorn is a very dangerous beast, for which reason on its heraldic representation it is chained. It is thought that the chain was to show a great beast had been tamed to serve the king. As with most chained beasts in heraldry, its strength is emphasised rather than diminished by its shackles.
Around below, the inscription UNICORN OF SCOTLAND. Around above, interrupted by the unicorn's head, the date · 2017 ·.
The artist's initials JC (for Jody Clark) are in the lower left field next to the shield.
||UNICORN OF SCOTLAND · 2017 ·
From the Royal Mint web page about the coin:
"For centuries heraldry has represented power and royalty, and is closely interwoven with the story of Britain’s kings and queens. This new collection explores The Queen’s heritage and how her ancestry is represented by the fierce royal protectors that guarded the entrance to her coronation. Now, more than six decades later, in the year that Her Majesty marked her Sapphire Jubilee and as the House of Windsor celebrates its 100th anniversary, The Queen’s Beasts have been reimagined for a new era of her reign.
Royal Mint Coin Designer Jody Clark has celebrated Her Majesty’s Scottish heritage with a design for the Unicorn of Scotland. His dynamic interpretation of the mythical beast appears on this one ounce coin, struck in 999 fine silver and finished to Proof standard. Presented in a Royal Mint case, the coin comes with a booklet produced in association with Clive Cheesman, Richmond Herald at the College of Arms."
The Royal Mint released sales figures in March 2020; however, some of them are not final as some of the products listed were still available for sale at that time.
This reverse design was issued in a variety of formats:
- £5 copper-nickel brilliant uncirculated, 2017
- 1 oz silver, proof, 2017
- 5 oz silver, proof, 2017
- 10 oz silver, proof, 2017
- 1 kg silver, proof, 2017
- 1/4 oz gold, proof, 2017
- 1 oz gold, proof, 2017
- 5 oz gold, proof, 2017
- 1 kg gold, proof, 2017
- 2 oz silver, bullion grade, 2018
- 1/4 oz gold, bullion grade, 2018
- 1 oz gold, bullion grade, 2018
- 10 oz silver, bullion grade, 2019
- 1 oz platinum, bullion grade, 2019