Perhaps the most well-known and popular British myth, the legend of King Arthur has captivated imaginations since the ninth and tenth centuries, when the figure first appeared in medieval chronicles that were written in Latin and attributed to a Welsh cleric. The legend has been retold in various forms over time and the characters that have emerged from the tales endure in popularity. In a new bullion coin range as part of our Myths and Legends series, we honour King Arthur, Merlin and Morgan le Fay.
British Legend Meets British Craft
Since we began striking coins more than 1,100 years ago, we have gained an unrivalled reputation for craftsmanship and quality. Offering investors an opportunity to invest in a precious metal and legends with timeless significance, this new series will see one of the most popular British myths and legends in gold, silver and platinum.
King Arthur: A Legendary Leader
The first coin in this new bullion coin range pays tribute to King Arthur, one of the most popular figures in the canon of British mythology. Early depictions of Arthur portray him as a fearsome warrior, whilst later medieval romances show him as the king many know him as today, leading the Knights of the Round Table. Since the Welsh chronicles of the ninth and tenth centuries, numerous depictions of Arthur have appeared in a myriad of texts, which feature knightly quests, courtly love, the slaying of mythical monsters, the finding of rare and holy artefacts, and extra-marital affairs. These reinterpretations of the legend have created an air of ambivalence surrounding the myth, which has perpetuated its popularity.
Merlin: A Mythical Sorcerer
Following the introduction of King Arthur on a bullion coin, next we will see Merlin introduced to the range. Another popular Arthurian character, notably in American literature and popular culture, the sorcerer is Arthur’s trusted adviser, prophet and magician. Geoffrey of Monmouth essentially created the Merlin we recognise today in his twelfth-century work Historia Regum Britanniae (The History of the Kings of Britain). In Geoffrey’s text, Merlin assists Uther Pendragon – Arthur’s father – and is responsible for transporting the stones of Stonehenge from Ireland. Geoffrey of Monmouth’s pseudo-historical account of British history had a major influence on the evolution of Arthurian myth as it grew in popularity from the Middle Ages.
Morgan le Fay: A Powerful Enchantress
The third bullion coin in this range will feature Morgan le Fay who, like many of the characters that appear in Arthurian myth, has appeared in various depictions by authors who have reinterpreted the stories. One theory that presents itself is that the character likely originated from Celtic mythology; she has been portrayed as a shape-shifter who can fly, and as a healer with otherworldly powers. In medieval French literature, she is depicted as Arthur’s sister, and the one who accompanies him to the mystical isle of Avalon for healing following his final battle.