Description

When Her Majesty The Queen was crowned in 1953, the entrance to Westminster Abbey was guarded by 10 fantastical creatures – The Queen’s Beasts – created by sculptor James Woodford RA. First sculpted in plaster, the Queen's Beasts have had several homes since their debut, now residing in the Canadian Museum of History in Quebec. However, James Woodford RA also sculpted replicas of the beasts in Portland stone that now sit outside the Kew Gardens in London.

The Queen’s Beasts are issued since 2016 in commemorative coin form, launched one beast at a time. The coins are available in a range of finishes, from mint-condition Brilliant Uncirculated cupro-nickel to Proof editions in silver and gold, struck from 1-ounce to 1-kilo sizes.

The Unicorn of Scotland is the second creature to appear on the Royal Mint’s commemorative “Queen’s Beasts” range following the launch of the Lion of England coin in November 2016.

The entire series' designs are created by engraver Jody Clark.

Obverse

The fifth crowned portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II facing right, wearing the George IV State Diadem and drop earrings.

The George IV State Diadem, officially the Diamond Diadem, is a type of crown that was made in 1820 for King George IV. The diadem is worn by queens and queens consort in procession to coronations and State Openings of Parliament. The piece of jewelry has been featured in paintings and on stamps and currency. It can be seen in the Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace.

ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA FIDEI DEFENSATRIX means Elizabeth II, by the grace of God, Queen and Defender of the Faith.

ELIZABETH II·D·G·REG·FID·DEF·5 POUNDS·
JC

Reverse

A dynamic depiction of the Unicorn of Scotland leaping over the shield of Scotland which bears a lion.

The unicorn is a legendary creature that has been described since antiquity as a beast with a single large, pointed, spiraling horn projecting from its forehead. In European folklore, the unicorn is often depicted as a white horse-like or goat-like animal with a long horn and cloven hooves (sometimes a goat's beard). In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, it was commonly described as an extremely wild woodland creature, a symbol of purity and grace, which could only be captured by a virgin.

From the end of the 16th century, two unicorns were adopted as the supporters of the Scottish Royal Arms. James VI of Scotland became James I of England after he succeeded the childless Elizabeth I in 1603, thus uniting the thrones for the first time. The new king took the Lion of England and one of the Scottish unicorns as supporters for the Royal Arms, and they have remained in place ever since. The origin of the unicorn as a regular supporter of the Scottish arms is unknown, but since the 15th century it has been associated with Scotland, where it was struck on gold coins called “unicorns” for their design of a unicorn supporting the Scottish shield.

The Unicorn of Scotland, milky-white in colour with golden hooves, horn, and mane, has always had a coronet around its neck like a collar, with a gold chain attached. It’s thought that the chains were to show a great beast tamed to serve the king. Certainly, as with most chained beasts in heraldry, its strength is emphasised rather than diminished by the shackles.

· 2017 ·
JC
UNICORN OF SCOTLAND

Edge

5 Pounds (Crown)

5th portrait
KM#
Characteristics
Type Commemorative Issue (Non-circulating)
Material Cupronickel
Weight 28.2 g
Diameter 38.6 mm
Thickness -
Shape round
Alignment Medal
Mint
Royal Mint

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