What are the ‘Royal Tudor Beasts’ and why do they feature on UK £5 coins?

In 2017, The Royal Mint revealed a series of brand new base metal UK £5 coins featuring an intriguing range of creatures called the Queen’s Beasts’.

Following on from their huge popularity, a brand new series of £5 coins has JUST been announced that will take you back to the time of King Henry VIII and the mighty Tudor dynasty!

Ten heraldic beasts have stood guard, still, and silent on the Moat Bridge of Hampton Court Palace for hundreds of years, representing the royal lineage of King Henry VIII and Jane Seymour.

The very first coin in this exciting series celebrates the King’s marriage to his third wife, signified by the beast known as The Seymour Panther.

2022 UK Seymour Panther £5

The Seymour Panther was gifted to Jane Seymour by King Henry VIII from the royal treasury of beasts. It is one of the ten magnificent King’s Beasts sculptures you’ll find if you visit Hampton Court Palace.

The exquisite reverse design of this brand new £5, by David Lawrence, depicts the panther in all its glory, with flames coming out of its mouth and ears. Known for its intoxicating breath, the Seymour Panther represents the union between the mighty King Henry VIII and his wife, Jane Seymour.

The 2022 UK Seymour Panther £5. Secure yours here >>

This brand new coin marks the start of an exciting new series of coins celebrating the history of the Tudor dynasty. You can order your 2022 UK Seymour Panther £5 coin for JUST £10.99 (+p&p) today by clicking here >>

What’s more, the impressive size of the £5 coin is the perfect way to show off such detail – one of the reasons why £5 coins are the go-to issues for serious UK new issue coin collectors.

Your CERTIFIED Brilliant Uncirculated quality coin has been protectively encapsulated in Official Change Checker packaging to preserve it for generations to come.

The heraldic beasts of the Tudor dynasty

Over 400 years ago Henry VIII commissioned the sculpting of 10 heraldic animal statues. They were produced to represent the ancestry of King Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour.

These became known as “The King’s Beasts” and can still be seen to this day, guarding the main entrance to Hampton Court Palace. One of the responsibilities of the beasts is to support various shields which themselves have symbols known as badges.

The Tudor Beasts outside of Hampton Court Palace. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

King Henry VIII had numerous beasts decorating Hampton Court where the Queen’s own beasts now reside. The Tudor Beasts are: the Lion of England, the Royal Dragon, the Tudor Dragon, the Black Bull of Clarence, the Yale of Beaufort, the White Lion of Mortimer, the White Greyhound of Richmond, the Seymour Lion, the Seymour Panther and the Seymour Unicorn.

The Queen’s ten beasts were modeled after these creatures and guarded her coronation in 1952. Woodford, the sculptor instructed to produce these ten new statues, did not produce exact replicas to those of Henry VIII’s beasts, as these would have had little connection with Her Majesty’s own family or ancestry.

Now that you know about the history of the Tudor creatures, which beast are you excited to see featured on our £5 coin? Let us know in the comments below!


Secure your 2022 UK Seymour Panther £5 in Brilliant Uncirculated quality!

Secure the very first coin in The Royal Mint’s Tudor Beasts £5 series with the brand new 2022 UK Seymour Panther £5 today >>

Your coin has been struck to a superior Brilliant Uncirculated quality, ensuring its quality is perfect for you to add to your collection. It will also come protectively encapsulated in official Change Checker packaging to preserve it for generations to come.

To secure the brand new 2022 UK Seymour Panther £5 for your collection for JUST £10.99 (+p&p), click here >>

As you may know, this is the very first £5 in a series of ten, with each coin representing a different Royal Tudor Beast.

To make sure you don’t miss out on owning the rest of the coins in the series and to be one of the very first collectors to complete the collection, you can sign up to the Change Checker UK CERTIFIED BU £5 Subscription today and with just a few simple clicks of a button you’ll be guaranteed to never miss a UK £5 coin release!

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Historic Heads – the changing faces of UK coins

The ‘heads’, or obverse, side of a coin has depicted the image of a monarch or ruler for thousands of years.

However, the nature of these images have changed over the centuries. From the Ancient Greeks to Queen Elizabeth II, in this blog we guide you through the differing historic heads of uk coinage.

Ancient Greece and Rome

An Ancient Greek coin depicting the portrait of Zeus.

The coins of ancient Greece set the design template for the circulating coins that we use today in the UK!

On one side, their coins show a portrait of the symbol of national sovereignty and on the other side, we see something that resembles the nation.

Coins of ancient Greece and Rome were provided for city states and depict images of iconic leaders and the gods that protected them.

Roman coins depict the faces of the leaders of the empire, including Emperor Honoria.

Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Period

Medieval coin featuring the portrait of Edward III

The AngloSaxon period in Britain spans approximately the six centuries from 410-1066AD.

In the ninth century The Royal Mint struck a silver penny of Alfred the Great at the time of the resettlement of London after its first occupation by the Vikings. 

The coin would have been struck by hand and the design showcases the rigid markings that would have come as a result of hand tools.

The Renaissance and the Tudors

Tudor coin featuring the portrait of King Henry VIII

The Sovereign is undoubtedly one of the most impressive coins struck by The Royal Mint.

In 1489, Henry VII ordered a new coin of gold. The coin surface was large, enabling the engraver to include decorative details. It allowed for more detailed portraits of monarchs.

The portrait on this coin is of the crowned King Henry VIII.

Charles II

Gold coin featuring the reversed portrait of Charles II

When Charles II was restored to the throne, he needed to assert his royal authority and to show a clear break from the rule of Oliver Cromwell.

It’s been suggested that the tradition of monarchs facing in the opposite direction to their predecessor on coins, dates back to Charles II when he wanted coins under his reign to be different from that of Cromwell.

Victoria

Queen Victoria Gothic Florin

Despite reigning for 64 years, there were few coinage portraits of Queen Victoria, with one being favoured for 50 years.

For 50 years the ‘Young Head’ effigy of Queen Victoria featured on UK coinage this classically styled portrait was reinterpreted several times, with each effigy designed to portray the queen as she aged.

Queen Elizabeth II

2020 dated 50p featuring the fifth portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II

Five portraits of Her Majesty The Queen have been used on UK coins since her accession to the throne in 1952.

The Queen’s first portrait, by Mary Gillick, shows her wearing a wreath in the style of many British coins struck between the seventeenth and early nineteenth centuries. This portrait remained on UK coins up until decimalisation, when Arnold Machin’s new portrait of The Queen was used (pictured above).

The effigy selected for use from 1985 was prepared by the sculptor Raphael Maklouf, in which she is depicted wearing a necklace and earrings.

By her fourth portrait, designed by Ian Rank-Broadley, a greater degree of realism was used. It shows The Queen in her sixth decade, her crowned head filling the coin’s surface. 

The fifth and most recent portrait of The Queen is by Royal Mint designer Jody Clark. This is arguably the first UK coin to introduce elements of personality with a hint of a smile. Clark is the first Royal Mint employee in over 100 years to design a UK definitive coin portrait.


So now you know how the portraits on our coins have changed over the years, which portrait is your favourite? Comment below!


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