Who doesn’t love the legacy of the Chinese horoscope? The Royal Mint certainly does! And going off the yearly SELL-OUTS, clearly so do collectors.
Read on to explore the history of this poignant Chinese tradition, the joyful creature to ascend in 2023, and how the Royal Mint’s latest release could continue the sell-out history…
Firstly, you may be wondering why the Chinese lunar years each bear the names of twelve different animals. Well, an ancient tale can divulge all truths…
The story goes that one of the most important gods in traditional Chinese religion, the Jade Emperor, set-up a race with all the animals in the world. Twelve species turned up at the start line: a pig, dog, rooster, monkey, sheep, horse, snake, dragon, rabbit, tiger, ox, and rat.
As a reward for merely attending, the emperor named a year in the zodiac after each one. However, the race was used to determine the order each animal would be placed…
The cunning and versatile Rat was placed first, and due to its incessant appetite and laziness, the Pig came last after getting peckish and dozing off!
2023 is the year of the Rabbit. The Rabbit marks the fourth Lunar Year in the calendar, and if we go by the ancient tale, came fourth in the race!
Those born in 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, and of course – 2023 – are said to be kind, elegant, vigilant, witty, and quick-minded! Does this sound like you or someone you know? Well, The Royal Mint have the perfect gift for them…
The Shēngxiào Collection
Since the Year of the Horse in 2014, The Royal Mint have been designing exquisite coins to match the everchanging animals that usher in the new Lunar Year!
With a reverse design imaginatively created by varying artists, the vast array of unique characteristics and qualities of each animal are individually captured.
And you cannot deny some truth in the ambition of the Dragon, the honesty of the Monkey, or the resilience of the Ox.
But today, we are calling all RABBITS!
Known for almost a decade of consistent sell-outs, the Shēngxiào Collection’s latest release is guaranteed to leave even our most dedicated collectors emptyhanded.
A guaranteed SELL-OUT?
When you consider Lunar Year coins since 2014 have SOLD-OUT ALL Silver Proof specifications, it is no surprise that this series is renowned as one of the largest ongoing coin programmes in the world!
As an international phenomenon, most of these coins are usually snapped up by collectors in the Far East, making this collection one very few British collectors will ever see… let alone own.
In fact, with the adorable International Rabbit Day fast approaching on the 24th of September, you have all the more reason to celebrate NOW before it inevitably follows the SELL-OUT pattern!
The EXTREMELY SOUGHT-AFTER 1oz Silver Proof edition
Struck from .999 silver to a perfect Proof finish, only 2,888 of these exquisite coins have been produced WORLDWIDE!
What’s more, The Westminster Collection have only been able to secure JUST 200!
You must remember that ALL silver specifications of the Lunar Year series have SOLD-OUT consistently since 2014, guaranteeing only our most dedicated collectors will be able to secure the latest release for their collection or gift to a beloved Rabbit!
In fact, by securing one your own Lunar Year of the Rabbit 1oz Silver Proof coin, you will be contributing towards a DECADE of Lunar Year Silver SELL-OUTS!
The Collector’s Favourite Specification…
Struck to Brilliant Uncirculated quality, your Lunar Year of the Rabbit £5 coin will arrive free of the marks and blemishes found on regular circulating coinage.
In fact, each coin will arrive protectively sealed in a bespoke Royal Mint presentation pack which creatively celebrates the blend between traditional Asian culture and British design, and of course, the significance of one of China’s most protected symbols: The Rabbit!
Today, The Royal Mint have finally unleashed a BRAND-NEW UK 2023 coin to celebrate the most peculiar piece of the mighty Tudor dynasty: The Yale of Beaufort!
Join me and travel back to Henry VIII’s England to discover the origins of the Yale itself, what makes it the most eccentric creature in the Royal Tudor Beasts series so far, and how you can secure it in your favourite specification!
Landing in Tudor England…
If you have ever had the fortunate opportunity to visit Hampton Court Palace, you will know the heraldic creatures as more than just the reverse design of the Tudor Beasts coins. In fact, the stone sculptures of these ten formidable beasts that guard the Moat Bridge are one of the first things guests will see! However, back in the early 16th century, they were used for more than just spectacle…
In fact, they were originally erected to establish Henry VIII’s power and guard his right to rule.
To commemorate the heraldic importance of these royal protectors, The Royal Mint’s regal ten-part Royal Tudor Beasts series feature reverse designs of the mythical creatures who represent the lineage of Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour.
2022 saw the launch of the first coin in the series, The Seymour Panther. Symbolic of the strong union between Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, this coin SOLD-OUT in FIVE specifications!
The second coin of the collection, which features the oldest and most iconic beasts in heraldic art – The Lion of England – draws upon imagery of courage from as far back as the twelfth century!
And finally, the third coin in the series emphasises the most peculiar royal protector of them all: The Yale of Beaufort. With an antelope-like body, lion’s tail, and tusks of a boar, you can see why this creature is the most striking…
Yale of Beaufort
The Yale of Beaufort, the third beast to feature on the UK Tudor Beasts coin series, was closely associated with the powerful Beaufort family and helped to reinforce Jane Seymour’s authority and influence as the king’s new wife. If you look closely, you can see the creature holding the Arms of Jane Seymour…
The Yale of Beaufort £5 BU Pack
Created in collaboration with the experts at Historic Royal Palaces, this coin is available in the collector’s favourite specification – Brilliant Uncirculated quality – to ensure it is free of the marks and scratches found on regular circulating coinage.
What’s more, each £5 coin will arrive protectively sealed in a bespoke Royal Mint presentation pack which delves deeper into the Yale of Beaufort’s history and heraldic importance!
The EXTREMELY LIMITED 1oz Silver Proof edition
Struck from .999 silver to a stunning proof finish, David Lawrence’s imaginative reverse design is brought to life with such detailed minting!
However, The Yale of Beaufort 1oz Silver Proof coin has only 5,000 available worldwide, meaning it is 20% more rare than the previous Tudor Beasts’ release.
In fact, I have one more warning for you…
We only have 300 available for our most dedicated collectors!
To put this into context, the UK 2022 Seymour Panther coin’s larger worldwide edition limit of 6,000 SOLD-OUT within mere hours of release at The Royal Mint!
A symbol of royal power for nearly 1,000 years, the Tower of London remains one of Britain’s most iconic attractions.
But did you know that for over 500 years The Tower of London housed The Royal Mint?
It’s safe to say that during The Royal Mint’s time in The Tower, making coins was hot, noisy and dangerous affair. So much so that tampering with coins was considered treason, and the threat of gruesome punishment alone was enough to deter most, if not all, forgers and thieves.
For me, there’s no coin stories as fascinating as the ones that originate from The Royal Mint’s time a at The Tower. Here’s a selection of my very favourite ones…
Health and Safety was not a concern
In stark comparison to the society we live in today, the health and safety of Mint workers was not a top priority during the Mint’s time in The Tower.
Mechanisation in the 1600’s was welcome relief for Mint workers, as up until this point, all coins were made by hand. As a result, it wasn’t unusual for workers to be injured, and the loss of fingers and eyes was not uncommon.
When it came to striking the coins, split second timing and staying alert could mean the difference between making a coin and losing a finger! That’s because in order to strike a coin, one worker would place a handmade piece of metal between two engraved stamps – called dies – and a second worker would then strike it with a hammer. This procedure would stamp the coin design on to the metal, but if both parties were not on the ball sometimes a finger would be removed in the process.
Even then, it actually wasn’t until screw-operated presses were introduced in the 1700’s that life for Mint workers became relatively safe.
Dirty, deadly money
Working in the Mint was dirty and dangerous work. Huge furnaces were used to melt down precious metal, and the air was full of deadly chemicals and poisonous gases. This made the coin making process a real hazard.
In the 1560’s a group of unfortunate German workers learned this the hard way. Several of them were suspected to have been poisoned by clouds of noxious gas, and they fell incredibly ill. Seasoned workers at the Mint advised them of the cure – to drink milk from a human skull! Despite the so called ‘cure’, several men died.
The mysterious case of Sleeping Beauty
Several decades prior to this, in the 1540’s, William Foxley was another victim of the Mint’s lax health and safety. Though how exactly, still no one to this day knows for sure! Foxley was a potter at the Mint, and one day he fell asleep over his pots and no one could wake him up.
It’s unclear what exactly caused Foxley’s coma, and allegedly King Henry VIII himself swung by The Tower to check out the mysterious sleeping beauty. For the majority of the British population, the only way they knew what their monarch looked like was thanks to the obverse of the coin. So Foxley will have been disappointed to have slept through his audience with the King.
This case perplexed physicians for 14 days, after which Foxley woke up and was the picture of perfect health. Remarkably he lived for another 40 years.
Tampering with coins was considered treason
Treason was not taken lightly. In fact any tampering with coins, such as shaving silver from the edge of a coin to steal it, was classed as treason and the severe punishments that awaited thieves and forgers was nearly enough in most instances to put them off.
During medieval times, the sentence for a first-time convicted counterfeiter was to remove their right hand. Any second offences were punishable by castration. It’s unknown exactly what followed this particularly gruesome punishment for a third or even a fourth offence.
But if you think this is severe, in later years and right up until the 1700’s male forgers suffered a traitor’s death – that is to be hung, drawn and quartered. Meanwhile, female forgers were either burned at the stake or transported on one of the infamous convict ships to their designated place of exile.
If you’re interested…
The Royal Mint has just released a BRAND NEW UK £5 coin to celebrate its longstanding and fascinating history with The Tower of London.
The coin is available in a range of specifications, including Brilliant Uncirculated and extremely limited edition Silver Proof and Silver Proof Piedfort. Given the historical significance of this commemorative, it is expected to be highly sought-after by serious collectors now and in years to come. That said, we do not expect to be able to offer it for long.