Royal Mint unveils “Masterpiece 2012”

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August 9, 2012 – The Royal Mint has unveiled the Masterpiece for 2012; the third in a series of medallions which aims to showcase the skill and craftsmanship of The Royal Mint engraver.

The Masterpiece is defined by attention to detail at every level; the medal is always highly intricate and immaculately struck to a high relief. The intention is to embody the history and heritage of the specialist art of engraving, the result of originality coupled with the quality of execution.

Masterpiece Medal in silver: .999 silver / 250 g (appr.) / 80 mm (appr.) / Design: Lee Robert Jones / Mintage: 500.

Struck in silver and gold, The Royal Mint Masterpiece for 2012 is inspired by the legend of King Arthur and has been designed by Royal Mint engraver, Lee Robert Jones. Each year, one of The Royal Mint’s engravers is selected to create the Masterpiece. The first, created by Chief Engraver Gordon Summers, was launched in 2010 and featured a St George and the dragon design; this was followed in 2011 with a piece dedicated to Britannia, designed by Royal Mint engraver, Bob Evans.

Masterpiece Medal in gold: .999 gold / 313 g (appr.) / 65 mm (appr.) / Design: Lee Robert Jones / Mintage: 25.

Lee Robert Jones’ intricate design for 2012 captures the story of King Arthur in medallic art, portraying the warrior King in triumph as well as the humbled man at the point of his ultimate defeat.

The obverse of the Masterpiece features Arthur as a 6th Century Warrior King successfully defeating the Saxons, whilst the mysterious figure of Merlin stands unchallenged in the background, orchestrating the battle around him. The scene is set against a chaotic battlefield where mist and smoke rise from the dew laden ground of the morning, as the dragon flags planted by the Warrior’s cavalry symbolise the dominance of victory.

The reverse portrays a defeated King as depicted in later romance tales. Mortally injured, he offers the sword Excalibur to his most trusted Knight, Bedivere. An embracing couple in the background of the design depicts King Arthur’s wife Guinevere in the arms of Lancelot, whilst Arthur’s half-sister Morgana stands with her staff in hand, a symbol of manipulation. The raven that sits upon her staff suggests knowledge – and in more modern terms – impending death.

Commenting on his design, Lee said “Arthurian Legend is a subject I have had a great passion for since I was a child, so to be given the opportunity to create the Masterpiece for 2012 was very exciting. From the intricate design through to the booklet with integrated map – the entire work fuses together to tell the story of the well-known legend. It’s my hope that I can impart my enthusiasm for the subject and art form through the experience of the Arthurian Legend Masterpiece Medal.”

The Royal Mint Arthurian Legend Masterpiece Silver Medal is housed in a black leather case whilst the gold is presented in a wood-veneer presentation case. Each comes with a Certificate of Authenticity and a complementary booklet which includes a wealth of scholarly insights from eminent historians Sean Davies and Karen Jankulak.

For further information please visit the website of The Royal Mint.

This site offers information and many links on the Arthurian legend.