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Friday, 5 May 2017

494) Guinevere: The second coin in the six coins “Camelot Series”: a joint product of the Government and Treasury of Cook Islands, Choice Mint and Coin Invest Trust issued in May 2017 (but dated 2016):

494) Guinevere: The second coin in the six coins “Camelot Series”: a joint product of the Government and Treasury of Cook Islands, Choice Mint and Coin Invest Trust issued in May 2017 (but dated 2016):

Choice Mint has issued the first coin in its new, six-coin series titled “Camelot” on King Arthur in December 2016.
 The second coin in the six-piece “Camelot Series” “Guinevere” is now available in May 2017 , but is dated 2016.In this painting she is seen knighting Sir Lancelot. The Reverse of the silver coin is seen in the foreground

The “Camelot’ Series of coins is a joint product of the Government and Treasury of Cook islands, Choice Mint and Coin Invest Trust.

The design and production of the coins has been undertaken by Coin Invest Trust who are the pioneers of the Smartminting technology, which achieves exceptionally high-relief with normal amounts of metal or alternatively, normal relief with less metal than conventional methods entail. 

                 The Reverse of the Silver 10 NZD Coin
On the Reverse of the 10 Dollars Silver Coin is depicted the Guinevere, the legendary queen of Camelot in a seated position, holding a long-stemmed rose. The engravings/imagery on this face of the coin is beautifully detailed in both the foreground and the background.

The design elements are treated with three different finishes – a mirror-like Proof finish, while the other elements are a rich Matte finish or a fine, smooth finish that strikes a balance between the two.

The stitching on Guinevere’s gown, each loop of her braid, each bead in her necklace is sharply detailed, and clusters of leaves are visible on the far-off trees. A knight’s shield with diagonal stripes leans against one tree. In the far background, a tiny flag waves above the towers of Camelot.

                  The Obverse of the Silver 10 NZD Coin

 On the Obverse of the 10 Dollars Silver Coin is depicted a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, designed by Ian-Rank Broadley (as against her latest portrait designed by Jody Clark, which is seen on new Great British coinage). She is surrounded by Arthur’s knights, who are shown from above, each holding his helm in one hand and his sword raised towards the Queen in the other hand.

The Queen’s head has been reduced in size and placed at the centre of the Round Table.

A closer look shows that each knight is different from his fellow knights, which is most noticeable in the hair, which varies from straight to curly, tousled to parted. The Knight on the extreme centre left lower periphery (shown at eight o’clock) appears to be bald on top.

The specifications of this coin are:

Denominational value: 10 Dollars (NZD); Issuing Country: Cook Islands; Diameter/Size: 50.0 mm; Metal Composition: .999 (2 Troy Ounces Silver); Weight: 63.2 grams; Edge: Smooth; Exterior Decoration: Ultra High Relief, Smartminting Technology; Mintage limit: 999. Year of issue: 2016.

About Queen Guinevere:

She was the wife of the legendary King Arthur, who is regarded as an icon of British history.

First appearing in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s 1136 AD Chronicle of British history titled “Historia Regum Britanniae”, her name was mentioned as “Guanhumara”, a Cornish name/pronunciation, which some historians believe is the equivalent of Jennifer.

In medieval romances, one of the most prominent stories is about her love affair with Arthur’s chief knight Lancelot. This reference first appeared in Chretien de Troyes’s “Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart” and became a motif in Arthurian Literature, starting with the Lancelot-Grail of the early 13th Century and carrying through to Thomas Malory’s “Le Morte Arthur”. 

Guinevere’s and Lancelot’s betrayal of Arthur, preceded the Battle of Camlaan with Mordred in which Arthur was fatally wounded. Arthur fought his final battle against Mordred of Orkney at Camlann in which he was mortally wounded and went to his final resting place in a barge draped in black carrying three noble queens and their ladies all dressed in black, who carried him to Avalon, his final resting place.

After Arthur was carried away to Avalon, Queen Guinevere joined a convent where she became a nun, Sir Lancelot, heard about Mordred’s revolt against Arthur and arrives with his army from France, too late to save the King. He was so distraught that he vowed never to use his sword again and became a monk.

The Knights of the Round Table:

Arthur’s Company was referred to as the “Knights of the Round Table”.

The Round Table was gifted to King Arthur as a wedding gift by King Leodegrance of Cameliard when Arthur married his daughter Guinevere or Guenever. Along with the Round Table, Leodegrance also gifted one hundred of his bravest knights to Arthur.  Merlin the wizard who was King Arthur’s confidant, well-wisher and Advisor was tasked to find the remaining fifty knights to complete the Round Table’s company.

Merlin was able to find only twenty-eight additional knights, but foresaw through his magical powers that the remaining seats would be filled when their claimant knights would come in due course to fill them. He even told Arthur the names and qualities of the remaining knights.

For example, Arthurian legends mention a special chair at the Round Table called the Siege Perilous (meaning the “Dangerous Chair”). The seat could only be sat upon by a knight who had a pure heart meaning someone who had committed no crimes or done any wrong. It was believed that if anyone who did not have a pure heart would die instantly.

This chair was kept vacant by Merlin for the knight who would quest for and find the “Holy Grail”. (A magical cup in which Jesus was said to have drank out of during the Last Supper). It is believed that Sir Galahad found the Holy Grail, when he went on a quest for it along with two other knights – Sir Bors and Sir Percival, but Galahad was never seen again and the Holy Grail has never been seen again.

Several quests are associated with the Knights of the Round Table – the Quest for the Holy Grail, the Green Knight, the Black Knight etc.

The legends further hold that Arthur & his Knights met at the Round Table to discuss the safety of Camelot and the Kingdom (read England) and about adventures and quests for the knights to embark upon. King Arthur’s wife Guinevere did not have a seat at the table, but Arthur used to take her advice on occasion.

It is also believed that the wizard Merlin also had a seat at the table.

The Round Table:

This was a table used by King Arthur and his knights as per Arthurian legends.

The Round Table was in Camelot, the castle where King Arthur and his knights lived.

Interestingly, while most tables are rectangular or square and have a seat called the “head of the table”, where the “leader” or “head of the family” usually sits, this table was round, symbolising that the persons who sat around it were “all seen as equal”.

The following images are taken from the Classics Illustrated Comic titled No. 108 “The Knights of the Round Table” in my collection. This comic now in tatters was gifted to me by my mother in 1964, when I was six years old:

  The Cover of the Classics Illustrated Comic in my library titled “Knights of the Round Table”. 

 King Leodegrance of Cameliard gifts the Round Table with 100 of his best knights to King Arthur as a wedding gift.

  The inscription on the back of this chair reads “This is the Siege Perilous”

 In the Battle of Camlaan, all combatants on both sides are killed and only three are left Arthur, Mordred and Sir Bedivere. Arthur meets Mordred in a fatal combat

From “The Arthurian Tarot Deck in my Tarot Library:

I purchased the “Arthurian Tarot” from the Mysteries shop in Covent Garden, London during my trip in 2007 along with other Tarot decks:

 The cover of the Tarot deck shows Arthur sitting with the Excalibur in his lap and his Draco standard aflutter overhead

 The Tarot Card titled Arthur bears the number IV in the major Arcana. Arthur is the primordial guardian of the land of Britain. From Dark Age battle-leader who welded warring tribes together to medieval King whose Round Table brought justice, he is recognised as Sovereignty’s champion. He sits upon his throne in the high mountain passes of Snowdonia, with the chough that is his bird. Behind him is the Draco standard of the Pendragons

 Guinevere or Gwenhwyfar sits spinning in a meadow while a white cow grazes nearby. She is Arthur’s Queen and the Guardian of peace and concord in the land. In Celtic tradition, she is the beautiful face of Sovereignty, the Flower Bride, whose consort rules the land
 An esoteric impression of the Round Table in the likeness of Stonehenge seen through Merlin’s eye. Above the Stonehenge is the Round Table while further above this is a circle of stars surrounding a crystal cap. The Round Table seeks to find balanced ways of representing the rights of all beings

Other interesting links to posts from Cook Islands minted by Coin Invest Trust:

1) Brexit : Britain's exit from the EEC : Coins issued by the Cook islands in the denomination of $1, $5 and $ 20 in 2016 

2) 150th Anniversary of "The Great Tea Race - 1866": Commemorative Coins in the denomination of 10 and 2 Dollars issued by Cook Islands in 2016

3) The Mystical Ancient Egyptian Labyrinth depicted on $10 Silver coins issued by Cook islands in 2016, under its "Milestones of Mankind Series".

4) King Arthur: The first coin in the six coin "Camelot Series". 

5) Queen Guinevere: The second coin in the six coin "Camelot Series". 

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