New coin collection takes inspiration from Henry VIII’s royal beasts

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King Henry VIII’s heraldic beasts have inspired a new range of coins from the Royal Mint, with the first unveiled at the monarch’s former palace.

Hampton Court Palace – where carvings of the beasts still welcome visitors – was the setting for the launch of the £5 Seymour Panther coin, which features an image of the Queen on one side and the animal on the reverse.

The collection has been designed by artist David Lawrence, who described the commission as an “honour” and a “huge challenge”.

He added: “Each royal beast comes down to us with centuries of heritage and meaning attached to them, so my task was to find a new vision that is still true to the past.”

The Royal Tudor Beasts collection will be released over five years, with the public able to buy the 10 coins celebrating the beasts – from lions and panthers to a bull, greyhound and a unicorn – chosen by Henry VIII to line the moat bridge of Hampton Court Palace in south-west London.

The first coin in the collection was unveiled at Hampton Court Palace (Matt Alexander/PA)
The first coin in the collection was unveiled at Hampton Court Palace (Matt Alexander/PA)

The £5 Seymour Panther coin, which retails for £13, is also available in a range of uncirculated and precious metal proof editions of various weights, with prices for the gold version ranging from £650 to more than £147,000, while the silver version is priced from £95 to almost £5,000.

The Seymour Panther was the heraldic symbol of Jane Seymour, Henry VIII’s third wife, given to her by the king from the treasury of royal beasts.

Henry’s grandmother Margaret was a Beaufort and the animal features in the Duke of Beaufort’s arms.

The new coin features the Seymour Panther – the heraldic symbol of Jane Seymour, Henry VIII’s third wife (Matt Alexander/PA)
The new coin features the Seymour Panther – the heraldic symbol of Jane Seymour, Henry VIII’s third wife (Matt Alexander/PA)

Clare Maclennan, divisional director of commemorative coin at the Royal Mint, said: “We are delighted to be introducing a new range of collectable and bullion coins celebrating the Royal Tudor Beasts – the 10 beasts chosen by Henry VIII.

“This exciting new range has been developed with Historic Royal Palaces and follows on from our popular Queen’s Beasts range.”

Emma Saunders, senior licensing manager at Historic Royal Palaces, said: “As an independent charity, each sale of Historic Royal Palaces’ collectible coins helps support our cause and contributes to the future of the incredible buildings and collections in our care, which is more important now than ever before.”

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