THE FAERIE QUEENE COLLECTION
The first design in THE FAERIE QUEENE NEW FOUR COIN COLLECTION
Exceptionally low limited edition 2oz gold and silver proof with 24ct selective gold plate, releasing on September 15, 2022.
AN EXCITING NEW FOUR COIN SERIES BY JOEL ISKOWITZ
The East India Company Collection’s new Faerie Queen coin series sees this epic medieval tale of honour, chivalry, love and virtue reimagined by one of the world’s leading coin designers, Joel Iskowitz.
First published in 1590, Edmund Spenser’s epic poem The Faerie Queene is a classic work of medieval English literature. At over 36,000 lines long, its six books contain one of the longest poems in the English language, believed to be an allegory of the life of Queen Elizabeth I.
Book One opens with a letter written by Spenser to Sir Walter Raleigh. Spenser explains to Raleigh how his tale has been influenced by the legends of King Arthur, and other great Classical epics such as the Illiad and The Odyssey. He describes how his story will be based around a festival, hosted by The Faerie Queene, called ‘The Feast of 12 Days’.
Across each of these 12 days Queen Gloriana, the Queene of Faerieland, will listen to appeals for help from her subjects who find themselves in trouble, and on each day she will select a worthy quest and assign it to one of her bravest knights. Each of these quests, and the knight to whom it is assigned, would be the subject of one of the 12 books that would make up Spenser’s complete work.
Ultimately, Spencer was only able to complete six of his intended 12 books, joined by a seventh unfinished chapter. Each book did focus on a specific quest as planned, with each knight being a personification of a particular virtue:
Book One; Redcrosse represents Holiness
Book Two; Sir Guyon represents Temperance
Book Three & Four; Britomart, who represents Chastity
Book Five; Sir Artegall, who represents Justice
Book Six; Sir Calidore, who represents Courtesy
This first coin in our series starts, as it should, at the beginning…..
UNA AND THE REDCROSSE KNIGHT
Book One tells the story of The Redcrosse Knight and the quest he is given by Queen Gloriana on behalf of the lady Una; to rescue her parents from the captivity of an evil dragon. Through the various trials and tribulations of his quest, he transitions from a young peasant boy to a brave and embattled knight called Redcrosse, an allegory for St George, the patron saint of England.
Una is a beautiful princess whose mother and father have been imprisoned by a wicked dragon. Carrying a suit of armour with a red cross painted upon it, she visits The Faerie Queene during ‘The Feast of the 12 Days’ to ask for the help of a brave knight in her quest to free her parents.
A young peasant boy who has attended the palace that day volunteers and asks the Queen to trust him with this mission. Una is hesitant to accept, preferring to trust this perilous quest to a more proven knight, but offers the boy a chance; if the armour she carries fits him, then the quest is his.
He tries on the armour and it fits him as if it were tailor made! The Faerie Queene names him Redcrosse, and Spenser’s epic story begins. Redcrosse and Una set off to face the dragon, a legendary moment captured in this stunning example of illustrative storytelling by the celebrated designer Joel Iskowitz.
TWO ICONIC CHARACTERS UNITED FOR THE FIRST TIME
Both Una and St George have graced British coinage for centuries, most famously as Beneditto Pistrucci’s classical ‘St George & the Dragon’ Sovereign and William Wyon’s renowned ‘Una & the Lion’ tribute to Queen Victoria.
The Faerie Queene capsule collection brings these two iconic characters together in unison for the first time ever on a coin to tell the story of The Faerie Queene Book 1 – the legendary tale explaining why St George slayed the Dragon.
Comprising of four coin designs, issued over 2 -3 years, each coin features the key moments in this epic tale of chivalry, adventure, honour and romance.