1/4 oz British Queen's Beasts Unicorn Gold Coin (2018)
(Excluding International Orders)
The 1/4 oz Unicorn of Scotland gold coin is the 4th release in the 10-coin Queen’s Beasts series from The Royal Mint.
Gold unicorn coins contain 1/4 troy oz of .9999 fine gold. These are sovereign coins fully backed by the British government.
The back of the coin features the powerful Unicorn of Scotland along with the weight, purity, and year-date. The unicorn is featured with a Lion of England shield -- a symbol of the unification of the thrones of Scotland and England after James I was coronated in 1603.
An effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II adorns the front of the coin along with the face value of 25 pounds.
The Queen’s Beasts are inspired by centuries of history and royal heraldry. The ten coins depict the genealogy of Queen Elizabeth II, with each of the heraldic beasts symbolizing the various strands of The Queen’s royal ancestry.
The original beasts were a series of 6-foot tall statues that stood guard outside The Queen’s coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953.
Today, they are re-imagined as beautiful, bullion coins.
Each proud beast was used as a heraldic badge by generations that came before Queen Elizabeth II. Centuries ago, these badges adorned the flags and shields of armies as they charged into battle -- not only to identify each side but also to serve as a symbol of royal lineage and title.
Tales of the mythical unicorn date back to around 400 BC, perhaps confused or exaggerated descriptions of animals like the rhinoceros or wild bulls and horses. The creature was at first thought to be huge, strong and fierce, and later a more elegant beast, a symbol of purity and innocence.
James I of England, who united the English and Scottish thrones, chose the Scottish Unicorn to join the Lion of England in supporting the Royal Arms. They have supported the shield ever since.
The Unicorn of Scotland, milk-white with gold hooves, horn, and mane, has a coronet around its neck, like a collar, with a gold chain attached. It is thought that the chains were to show a great beast tamed to serve the king.
As with most chained beasts in heraldry, its strength is emphasized rather than diminished by its shackles. It holds the royal coat of Scotland, unchanged since the time of Scottish king, Alexander III. A red lion rampant (the most fierce stance) is shown on a gold background.
Ancient Unicorn of Scotland heraldic badge.