Telephone 01253 343081

£
Currency
Excellent

Newsletter Signup Click Here

The Queen's Beasts - The Yale of Beaufort

Author: Victoria Toothill - Guest Writer

Published: 24 Jun 2020

Last Updated: 29 Jul 2020

Synopsis

The Yale of Beaufort is included in the Queen’s Beasts as it was the family animal of Henry VII’s mother. Lady Margaret Beaufort was an impressive woman. Women at the time were expected to be submissive and had very little power of their own. However, Lady Margaret wielded considerable political influence and personal autonomy. She was a descendant of the House of Lancaster through her father John Beaufort who was the grandson of John of Gaunt (third son of Edward III). This made her determined to see her son take back the throne of England from the Yorkist usurpers. A goal she schemed and manoeuvred to complete. Once she had achieved her dream, she used her position as the mother of Henry VII, to establish two Cambridge colleges and readerships (or professorships) in Divinity at both Cambridge and Oxford. Additionally, the first college to admit women, Lady Margaret College of Oxford University, was named after her to recognise her contributions to education.

Henry VII Queens Beasts Gold Bullion Coins

The Yale

The yale is a mythical creature, that was first described by Pliny the Elder. He described a creature with some intriguing characteristics. The yale was said to be as big as a rhinoceros, with the tail of an elephant but the appearance of a goat. In addition to this, the creature had the tusks of a wild boar and two great horns. These horns were the most impressive and memorable feature of the beast. They were said to be capable of a great range of movement. They could move independently, swivelling forwards to attack or backwards out of the way as needed. The horns were more than a cubit in length (longer than a human forearm) and poker straight. One of the yale’s tactics in a fight was to attack its opponent with one horn, keeping the other tucked backwards. Then if the first horn was damaged the second one could take over. It was also said that, when not in battle, the horns would curl to keep them out of the way of the yale as it went about its business. Pretty impressive!

The yale was described by Pliny the Elder as being brown or black. However, the Yale of Beaufort was white with gold spots and gold horns, tusks and hooves. These changes were made to symbolise the piety, purity, wealth and power of the Beauforts. White has always held connotations of goodness, spirituality, purity, godliness, and sacredness. From the ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece where gods and goddesses were always depicted in white to show their deity, to today where religious leaders often wear white robes to symbolise their connection to their faith. This would have been very important to the Beauforts who were known to be a pious family. In particular, Lady Margaret Beaufort was said to be a devout woman. She held Catholic services in her own chapel every day and was widely known as a model of piety and devotion. On the other hand, gold has obvious connections to wealth but also value and accomplishment. To say something is worth its weight in gold adds a measure of value to it. Or if something meets the gold standard it has accomplished the highest level for its field. All of these associations would have been beneficial to a family and encouraged by the Beauforts. Although, this would not be mere posturing. The Beauforts were an exceedingly wealthy house.

Lady Margaret Beaufort Queens Beasts Collectable Bullion Coins

Lady Margaret Beaufort

As we have already discussed, Lady Margaret Beaufort was an exceptional woman of her period. Despite early hardships, she became the most powerful woman in Tudor England, and in fact was instrumental in putting her son on the throne of England in the first place.

As a child she was used as a pawn of the Lancastrian King Henry VI as she inherited her father’s claim to the throne and his substantial wealth. He ordered her married first to John de la Pole, son of her protector the Duke of Suffolk. The marriage did occur but varying sources claim it happened at different times when she was between one and three years of age. This marriage was never really acknowledged, and Margaret herself wrote in her will that she considered her next husband, Edmund Tudor, to be her first husband. 

Henry VI was once again responsible for choosing her second husband, his half-brother, Edmund Tudor. They were married when Margaret was just 12 years old and Edmund was double her age. By the time she was thirteen, she was pregnant and her husband was captured by Yorkist forces. He died of the plague whilst still a prisoner, and Margaret was left in the care of his brother, Jasper Tudor. Less than three months after his death, Margaret gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Given her age, the birth was very traumatic for her and may have caused her significant and permanent damage. She had no more children, despite two later marriages, which led to speculation that she was left unable to conceive by damage done during the first birth. Her own harrowing birth experience drove her to put together a set of detailed instructions for proper procedures in the delivery of future royal children.

As a result of ongoing tensions between the houses of York and Lancaster, Jasper Tudor was forced to flee to Scotland and then France. Although Margaret had already been married off and so was separated from her son, she had been happy for him to be left in the care of his uncle. Now, the young Henry was taken into the care Sir William Herbert (a Yorkist). Despite their separation Margaret was devoted to her son and wrote to him regularly. Later, when Lancastrian efforts failed to get Henry VI back on the throne, Margaret convinced Jasper Tudor to take her son Henry with him as he retreated once again to France. He was further from her than he had ever been but he was out of Yorkist reach and safe with his uncle. It would be fourteen years before Margaret saw her son again but she did not waste them!

The End of the Wars of the Roses

Margaret schemed her way back into the courts of Edward IV and then his brother Richard III. By doing so, she got herself into a position where she could work to improve her son’s station. She is credited with saving her son from a plot by Edward IV to trap him and bring him back to England as a prisoner. An offer of marriage was made by Edward IV. Henry would marry his daughter Elizabeth of York. This was intended to look like an olive branch and then Edward’s envoys were instructed to take Henry prisoner. However, having gotten wind of the scheme from some spy at court Margaret was able to warn Henry and undermine the plot.  

After Edward IV’s death his brother Richard III seized the throne and (some say) killed Edward’s sons to keep it. He certainly imprisoned them in the tower anyway and they disappeared from trace after that. After this Margaret became something of a double agent. She ingratiated herself with Richard’s queen, Anne Neville, and even carried her train at the coronation. She is said to have negotiated with Richard III to try and bring about the return of her son. However, at the same time she was also conspiring with Elizabeth Woodville (Edward VI’s queen) to gain her support in deposing Richard III and bringing Henry back from Brittany to take the throne. Although this may seem an unlikely alliance, a queen of York siding with Lancastrian’s to remove a York king, we must remember that Richard III had imprisoned her sons in the tower and likely killed them, forced the rest of her family into a kind of prison (they had to seek sanctuary with the church at Westminster Abbey) and usurped the throne. So, in a shrewd move Margaret offered Elizabeth a way to get rid of Richard III and secure her family a place in the royal court once again. The women recycled Edward VI’s earlier brainwave concerning uniting their houses. They agreed that once Henry was on the throne, he would wed Elizabeth of York as previously suggested. As the first daughter of Elizabeth Woodville and Edward VI, Elizabeth of York was now also heir to the house of York after her brothers’ deaths, and so the wedding would unite the houses of York and Lancaster. Although they couldn’t be sure of it at the time, the two women had begun to bring about the end of the Wars of the Roses.  

They mounted an initial, unsuccessful rebellion known as the Buckingham rebellion before finally securing Henry’s return and ascension to the throne at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Henry had relied heavily on his mother to raise support for him in England before he had invaded from his foothold in Brittany. It was also she who convinced her husband, who had thus far remained loyal to Richard III, to abandon his king and refrain from battle at Bosworth Field. This weakened Richard’s forces substantially and Stanley (Margaret’s husband) crowned his stepson Henry once the battle had been won, making him King Henry VII.

Once her son was King Henry VII, Margaret became a key member of the royal court. Henry VII repaid his mother’s constant support and affection by restoring her lands and titles (they had been taken by Richard III because of her support of her son) and he had parliament declare her a ‘feme sole’. This title allowed Margaret legal and social independence from men. She could own her own land and sue someone in court. Other women did not have the right to do these things. Previously, this title and its connected freedoms had been reserved for queens only. Henry VII’s gesture conveyed considerable status and power upon his mother. A new title was also created for her at court; she was known as ‘My Lady the King’s Mother.’ Henry VII continued to draw on his mother’s support and political savvy, consulting her throughout his reign and when he died she was named chief executrix of his will. For two days after the death of her son, Margaret worked to secure the smooth succession of her grandson, Henry VIII.  She arranged her son's funeral and her grandson's coronation. At her son's funeral she was given precedence over all the other women of the royal family. Finally, she left her mark on the early reign of Henry VIII; when her eighteen-year-old grandson chose members of his privy council, it was Margaret's suggestions that he took.

The Arms of Henry VII

On the reverse of the Yale of Beaufort coin, the yale holds a holds a shield with the blue and white quarters of Margaret’s arms but with a golden portcullis at the centre, a badge used by Henry VII. The crown that appears above the portcullis symbolises Henry VII’s position as King.

Strangely, if asked, most people would not say that the portcullis was the symbol of Henry VII. They would assume that his symbol was the Tudor rose. There is an interesting story to this. Did you know that at the time no one referred to the infighting of the houses of York and Lancaster as the Wars of the Roses? The symbols of the white and red roses wouldn’t have been flown at the heads of any army before battle or seen on the arms of either house.

The historian Thomas Penn writes:

“The ‘Lancastrian’ red rose was an emblem that barely existed before Henry VII. Lancastrian kings used the rose sporadically, but when they did it was often gold rather than red; Henry VI, the king who presided over the country's descent into civil war, preferred his badge of the antelope. Contemporaries certainly did not refer to the traumatic civil conflict of the 15th century as the ‘Wars of the Roses’. For the best part of a quarter-century, from 1461 to 1485, there was only one royal rose, and it was white: the badge of Edward IV. The roses were actually created after the war by Henry VII.”

Henry VII came to the throne after years of division and war and needed to unite the people of England to secure his rule. His marriage to Elizabeth of York was a good start and he had to capitalise on that to ensure peace was maintained. During these times of mass illiteracy symbols spoke much louder than words and Henry VII exploited this. Edward IV had made the White Rose En Soleil his symbol and so the white rose was connected to the house of York. Taking advantage of this, Henry VI created the Tudor rose. He combined the white rose with a red rose which contrasted vividly with the white and created a symbol of unity and mutual regard. It represented the joining of the warring houses and was a signal to everyone that England would now be united and war was over. It was a spectacular piece of propaganda and the Tudor rose was often carved onto buildings to demonstrate loyalty to the crown. These can be seen in particular at Hampton Court Palace, and at private residences across England.

Tudor Rose and Portculis design

Bullion Coins

The bullion versions of this coin make a great crossover between the collectors and investors markets. The intricate designs and the history represented by each beast appeal to the collectors, and the range of metals and CGT exempt status appeal to the investors. Their status as official UK legal tender is the reason investors won’t pay Captital Gains Tax and the reason why a £ denomination appears on the obverse of the coin.

1oz Gold 

This one-ounce gold bullion coin contains 1 troy ounces of 999.9 fine gold and is exempt from Capital Gains Tax. It weighs 31.21g and has a diameter of 32.69mm. The reverse features Jody Clark's Yale of Beaufort with a shield bearing the portcullis of Henry VII. The yale is surrounded by a raised pattern, like intricate chains linked, covering the background.

The inscription around the edge of the coin reads YALE OF BEAUFORT 1oz · FINE GOLD · 999.9 · 2020. 

The obverse was also designed by Jody Clark and bears the fifth portrait of The Queen. It features a bust of Queen Elizabeth II wearing the King George IV State Diadem. This portrait shows an 88-year-old Queen with deep wrinkles around the eye and mouth areas. The Queen wears Diamond Jubilee drop pearl earrings and her chin is lifted slightly, which has been said to indicate that she is looking positively towards the future. The truncation is shaped into a sweeping curve. This portrait was introduced in 2015 and continues to be used today. On this bullion coin the background is not smooth but covered in a pattern of raised dots, carrying on the textured feel of the reverse but with a different pattern.

The inscription reads: ELIZABETH · II · D · G REG · F · D · 100 POUNDS.

Remember that the coin had to be given a denomination in order to be legal tender and so exempt from CGT. So, the £100 should not be considered a guide price! With the spot price for 1oz of gold hovering between £1300-£1400 recently and premiums to be paid on top of that you should expect to be paying a lot more than its £100 face value. In an effort to keep our customers informed and show what great value our prices are, our products have a price comparison so you know you'll be getting the best deal on your bullion.   

0.25 oz Gold

This coin is also available in a quarter ounce version. This smaller coin bears the same designs obverse and reverse but in miniature weighing only 7.80g and with a diameter of 22.00mm. It has a face value of £25, but as with its 1oz counterpart you should expect to pay for the gold content not the denomination.

2oz Silver

This two-ounce silver bullion coin contains two troy counces of silver. The coin has a fineness of 0.999 and as British Legal Tender, is exempt from Capital Gains Tax. It weighs 62.42g and has a diameter of 38.61mm. The reverse features Jody Clark's Yale of Beaufort with a shield bearing the portcullis of Henry VII. The yale is surrounded by a raised pattern, like intricate chains linked, covering the background.

The inscription around the edge of the coin reads YALE OF BEAUFORT 2oz · FINE SILVER · 999.9 · 2020. 

The obverse was also designed by Jody Clark and bears the fifth portrait of The Queen. It features a bust of Queen Elizabeth II wearing the King George IV State Diadem. This portrait shows an 88-year-old Queen with deep wrinkles around the eye and mouth areas. The Queen wears Diamond Jubilee drop pearl earrings and her chin is lifted slightly, which has been said to indicate that she is looking positively towards the future. The truncation is shaped into a sweeping curve. This portrait was introduced in 2015 and continues to be used today. On this bullion coin the background is not smooth but covered in a pattern of raised dots, carrying on the textured feel of the reverse but with a different pattern.

The inscription reads: ELIZABETH · II · D · G REG · F · D · 5 POUNDS.

Again, those pesky face value denominations are not a guide. The spot price for 1oz of silver has been anywhere between £13 and £15 recently. So, not forgetting those pesky premiums, you'll be looking to pay somewhere around £40-£45 for your 2oz coin. Check out the price comparison for this coin to get a live price and be reassured you'll be getting the best deal on your bullion.   

10oz Silver

This coin is also available in a ten-ounce version. This bigger coin bears the same designs obverse and reverse writ large weighing in at a whopping 311.055g and with a diameter of 89.00mm. It has a face value of £10, but as with its fellows you should expect to pay for the metal content.

Proof Mintages

The Yale of Beaufort 2019 Proof Varieties Mintage
YoB 2019 UK Gold Proof Kilo 13
YoB2019 UK Gold Proof Five-Ounce 70
YoB 2019 UK Silver Proof Kilo 120
YoB 2019 UK Silver Proof Ten-Ounce 240
YoB 2019 UK Silver Proof Five-Ounce 335
YoB 2019 UK Gold Proof One Ounce 445
YoB 2019 UK Gold Proof Quarter Ounce 1000
YoB 2019 UK Silver Proof One Ounce 4360
YoB 2019 UK £5 Brilliant Uncirculated Unlimited

One of the most important things for coin collectors is rarity. This can help to explain why proof versions of these coins can fetch a price so much higher than their bullion counterparts. This is why mintage is important. Gold proof coins tend to have the smallest mintage numbers as they come with the biggest price tags and tend to appeal to only the most affluent collectors. However, there is also a growing trend for collecting affordable base metal coins. Mass market, unlimited mintage, base metal versions of coins can make as much if not more money for a mint on a popular design. 

Proof Coins

The design on the proof coins is very similar to that on the bullion coins. However, there are some slight differences. For example, the field (background) is flat on the proof coins so they are easily distinguishable from their textured bullion equivalents. The inscription also differs on these proof coins as the emphasis is no longer on the metal content but instead on the craftsmanship that goes into creating a perfect proof coin. So, the inscription on the reverse includes only the name of the beast around the bottom and the year split above the beast's head.

Yale of Beaufort BU Reverse

Yale of Beaufort BU Obverse

A Word from the Designer

Queen’s Beasts designer Jody Clark is best known for his ‘fifth portrait’ of The Queen seen on UK coins since 2015, but has also spent a lot of time pouring over British heraldry to inspire his Queen’s Beasts designs and ensure they are true to the spirit of the great houses they represent. He says of his Yale of Beaufort design,

“As the yale is one of the more obtuse and mythical creatures of The Queen’s Beasts, I did a lot of research into its background and its influence which has been carried through to the modern day. It was evident within my research that the yale has been depicted differently throughout the ages but the most interesting aspect, for me, was its horns as they are a constant feature in many depictions. I wanted this to be a focal point in my design, as well as maintaining its mystery and ancient heritage.

Even though the yale isn’t a real creature, I wanted the design to portray the yale as a creature of regal stature, a creature which is both rare and magnificent. I looked at lots of images of animals such as wild boars, goats, bulls and elephants to get the elements of the yale just right.”

Further Reading

You may be interested in exploring more articles in our precious metal and coin news section of the website.

Related Blog Articles

This guide and its content is copyright of Chard (1964) Ltd - © Chard (1964) Ltd 2021. All rights reserved. Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited.

We are not financial advisers and we would always recommend that you consult with one prior to making any investment decision.

You can read more about copyright or our advice disclaimer on these links.