The ‘Red Dragon of Wales’ to feature on Royal Mint gold and silver bullion coins
A dramatic interpretation of the heraldic ‘Red Dragon of Wales’ is to feature on a range of bullion coins that will be available to purchase direct from The Royal Mint later this month.
Due to be launched in mid-March, those interested in investing in the gold and silver bullion-grade coins can register their interest at www.royalmintbullion.com to receive an alert as soon as the limited edition coins are available.
The Queen’s Beasts coin series celebrates 10 creatures that have featured throughout hundreds of years of British royal heraldry, and has been designed by Wales-based Royal Mint coin designer Jody Clark, best known for being the creator of The Queen’s most recent coinage portrait that appears not only on the obverse of this bullion coin, but on all UK circulating and commemorative coinage too.
“It is an amazing feeling to have my designs selected to feature on both sides of a coin. As a Royal Mint coin designer, I have the opportunity of working on the technical aspects of the coinage, as well as on the creative side, so each coin feels very much like a personal project from start to finish.”
“I researched the origins of heraldry and coats of arms, and wanted to replicate the sense of strength and courage the beasts were designed to convey. I created a sense of movement to make the beasts bold and dynamic, but the shields they guard still feature strongly as they are integral to the story.”
The designs are being introduced a ‘beast’ at a time; the Red Dragon of Wales is the most recent in the collection, and follows on from the launch of the gallant ‘Lion of England’ (March 2016), and Griffin of Edward III (November 2016).
The Red Dragon design is featured on The Royal Mint’s one ounce and quarter-ounce 999.9 fine gold coins, as well as on a two-ounce 999.9 fine silver coin. The Queen’s Beasts take their place in The Royal Mint’s core bullion range alongside the organization’s flagship gold Sovereign and gold and silver Britannia bullion coins, as well as the Royal Mint Refinery range of gold and silver bars, offering one complete bullion solution.
About the Red Dragon of Wales
Dragons are one of the best known mythical beasts, and are found in legends all over the world. In Wales it was mentioned in chronicles as early as the sixth century. The Red Dragon of The Queen’s Beasts was an emblem of Owen Tudor, a claim to Welsh heritage that was carried on by his son, who would become Henry VII. The troops of Henry VII carried a fiery red dragon standard at the Battle of Bosworth, when Henry secured the crown of England.
The dragon is red, but with a yellow underbelly and it holds a quartered red and gold shield with leopards, the arms of Llewelyn ap Griffith, the last native Prince of Wales. In Europe, the dragon was seen as a frightening creature but strong, wise and powerful.
About the Queen’s Beasts
Inspiration for this series has been taken from The Queen’s Beasts sculptures, each standing at around two meters tall, originally created by James Woodford RA for the coronation ceremony of Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II held in Westminster Abbey in 1953.
The heraldic creatures symbolised the various strands of royal ancestry brought together in a young woman about to be crowned queen. Each beast, used as an heraldic badge by generations that went before her, was inspired by the King’s Beasts of Henry VIII that still line the bridge over the moat at his Hampton Court Palace.
Today, The Queen’s Beasts can be found at the Canadian Museum of History in Quebec, while Portland stone replicas, also carved by James Woodford, watch over Kew Gardens in the UK.
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