The third and last coin in this inspiring three-coin series focuses on the legend of King Arthur, and, for the last coin, the antagonist of King Arthur — Morgan le Fay. The two previous coins focused on King Arthur himself and Merlin the Sorcerer. Morgan le Fay became a staple figure of the Arthurian legend, and her relationship with Arthur has varied over the centuries. She is often referred to as Arthur’s half-sister, the daughter of his mother Igraine and her first husband Gorlois, the Duke of Cornwall. However, in English depictions from the 14th and 15th centuries, she often lurks at the fringes of the Arthurian court, plotting its downfall. As a love interest of Merlin, he taught her witchcraft, to which Morgan was a very good student and soon became a powerful sorceress herself. One particular chapter tells of how Morgan le Fay steals the Excalibur sword and gives it to her lover, Accolon, intending that they overthrow King Arthur and rule in his place. Thwarting the scheme, Arthur recovers the sword, but she steals its magical scabbard, which has healing properties, indirectly contributing to Arthur’s fatal wounding in his final battle. Morgan also conspired against Arthur’s queen, Guinevere, as they were once rivals for the love of Arthur’s most important knight, Sir Lancelot. In a chapter of the myth, Morgan sends the Green Knight into Arthur’s court in the hopes that Queen Guinevere will be frightened to death. The Green Knight was described as a mysterious and imposing figure who dares any knight to strike him with his axe if he will take a return blow “in a year and a day.” The story ends with Morgan, dressed in a black hood, taking the dying Arthur to his final resting place in Avalon. Her own end is ambiguous as she is described as a figure in folklore who doesn’t belong to the world of the dead nor the world of the living.
The reverse side of the coin is the work of David Lawrence, who has created reverse designs for each of the Arthurian coins in the collection, unifying each legend with a signature style. His awaited design portrays Morgan le Fay, a dark and powerful enchantress, wearing a winged headpiece and poised to use magic against her enemies. The text around the primary design reads MORGAN LE FAY · MYTHS AND LEGENDS · 2023. All editions feature a hexurity refraction feature integrated into the background design that allows the light to reflect in different angles.
The obverse side bears the effigy of HM King Charles III, created by British sculptor Martin Jennings and introduced onto UK Coinage in 2022. The obverse also includes the year of release, 2023, and the denomination of 100 POUNDS (gold) or 5 POUNDS (silver) as part of the legend surrounding the King’s likeness.
|5 pounds||Cupro-nickel||28.2 g||38.6 mm||Brilliant Unc.||Unlimited|
|2 pounds||.999 Silver||31.1 g||38.6 mm||Proof||2,500|
|5 pounds||.999 Silver||62.2 g||40 mm||Proof||500|
|25 pounds||.9999 Gold||7.8 g||22 mm||Proof||250|
|100 pounds||.9999 Gold||31.1 g||32.69 mm||Proof||200|
The Brilliant Uncirculated cupro-nickel coins are housed in a blister-pak type folder with informative text and illustrations. Each of the coins in the gold and silver range of the “Myths and Legends” series is encapsulated and presented in either a hardwood high-gloss case (gold) or leatherette or black matte case (silver), and accompanied by a numbered certificate of authenticity. For additional information about this new collector series, please visit the Royal Mint’s website.
The “Myths and Legends” collection is also available in a bullion quality strike, with Morgan Le Fay joining the range later in the year.