This month, the East India Company kicked off a new collector's series with a reissue of William Wyon's famed Three Grace's pattern. A favourite of staff here at The Britannia Coin Company, this memorable engraving is a worthy beginning to the East India Company's The Masterpiece Collection. We're excited to have limited stock of the gold and silver proof coins in their original packaging as well as a range of graded examples.
If you're a fan of William Wyon, you'll be aware that some of his most famous designs have been remastered for a new audience as part of The Royal Mint's Great Engravers series.
So what makes the East India Company's Three Graces coins different? What have these collectors' coins got to do with the island of Saint Helena? And who are The East India Company anyway?
We've got the answers to all these questions but we need to return to the age of sail and empire to clue you in. Read on for the story behind these heritage Three Graces coins and why they should be your next acquisition.
William Wyon's 1817 Three Graces
The East India Company's 2021 Three Graces series represents an unmissable opportunity to own William Wyon's iconic, neoclassical design.
Known for his ‘Young Head' portrait of Queen Victoria, Wyon minted the Three Graces as a pattern coin in 1817, early in his career with The Royal Mint. Only about 50 specimens are known to have been struck, but the beauty and skill of the work gained the Three Graces a rightful reputation as a masterpiece of numismatic art.
The famous pattern, reproduced for The Masterpiece Collection, features three classically garbed women, representing both the three graces of Greek mythology and, at the same time, England, Scotland and Ireland. You can read more about the history and symbolism of this timeless piece in another article: The Three Graces by William Wyon: National Unity, Neoclassicism and Napoleon.
The East India Company has made this design available again, using time honoured techniques that allow you to experience the glory of Three Graces for yourself. The 2021 EIC Three Graces is available in a range of .999 silver and .9999 (24 carat) gold denominations and we have some great options in stock now:
- 2021 Saint Helena Three Graces 1 Ounce Gold Proof (from a limited edition of just 400)
- 2021 Saint Helena Three Graces 2 Ounce Gold Proof (250)
- 2021 Saint Helena Three Graces 1 Ounce Silver Proof (3,000)
- 2021 Saint Helena Three Graces 2 Ounce Silver Proof (2,500)
- 2021 Saint Helena Three Graces 5 Ounce Silver Proof (300)
The reverse of a one ounce silver proof St Helena Three Graces which shows the East India Company’s reissue of William Wyon’s iconic 1817 design.
Coinage Of The East India Company
A close examination of the reverse of East India Company Three Graces coins reveals a tiny mint mark: the letters ‘EIC' arranged inside a three armed crosslet. This symbol was inspired by a merchants mark, used for centuries by the East India Company.
The East India Company was chartered in 1600 to allow London merchants to trade with Southeast Asia and India. Its merchants dealt in commodities like cotton, sugar, spices, tea and opium. By the mid-1700s, the Company accounted for half of the world's trade. The EIC eventually became so powerful that it dominated politics in the regions where it operated, ruling large areas of the Indian subcontinent with the help of their private army and navy.
The importance of the East India Company is evidenced by its coinage. Initially, the Company minted money in pre-existing local styles, establishing several mints in India. In 1835 a unified currency was introduced across the Company's territories. These Rupee coins bore the East India Company's arms until administration of British India was transferred from the EIC to the British Crown.
An 1835 Gold Two Mohurs coin, minted by the East India Company, from the collection of the National Museum of American History.
Today's East India Company has returned to its roots, striking limited edition coins to celebrate a rich history. In 2012 the new EIC issued commemorative gold Guineas and Mohurs with the approval of Her Majesty the Queen. Other releases include several reinterpretations of William Wyon's Una and the Lion, a well as 2021's glorious Three Graces collection.
The unique reverse design of the East India Company’s 2020 St Helena Una and the Lion quarter ounce gold proof coin.
The East India Company and Saint Helena
You'll notice that the legend on the obverse of each East India Company Three Graces includes the words ‘ST HELENA'. That's because the East India Company's modern collectors' coinage is minted in partnership with the government of Saint Helena.
Saint Helena is an extraordinarily remote British Overseas Territory, located in the South Atlantic Ocean, about 1,200 miles from the southwestern coast of Africa. The tiny ten by five mile island has a long and storied connection with The East India Company, making this collaboration an incredible celebration of their shared heritage.
Map of the Island of Saint Helena, circa 1612.
From the island's discovery in the early 1500s, Saint Helena was visited by English, Dutch and Portuguese sailors in need of a stopping point on the long journey round the Cape of Good Hope. To secure the strategic advantage of the island, The East India Company was granted a charter to occupy Saint Helena in 1657 on behalf of the British government.
For the next century, East Indiamen resupplied on the fortified island during the return leg of their voyages to British India and China. Except for a six year period when Napoleon Bonaparte was imprisoned on the island, Saint Helena remained under control of The East India Company until it became a crown colony in 1833.
‘Saint Helena’ appears in the obverse legend of each East India Company coin, including the 2021 St Helena Three Graces 2 ounce gold proof.
Why Choose A St Helena Three Graces?
Revive the glory of The East India Company by investing in their modern commemorative coinage. Pieces like the 2021 St Helena Three Graces offer a whole range of benefits to collectors, including:
- Exclusive designs: The East India Company works with the best engravers to offer attractive new patterns and reinterpretations of classic coinage images, updated with the Company's mint mark
- Access to history: Saint Helena coins are a window into the past. Pieces like the 2021 East India Company Three Graces are your connection to the fascinating world of 19th century art and politics
- A sold out reissue: If you missed out on The Royal Mint's Great Engravers series Three Graces, released in 2020, then the Saint Helena Three Graces represents an opportunity to buy this design at a great price
- Limited mintages: All East India Company coins are minted in highly limited numbers. This exclusivity means they sell fast as collectors snap up new releases, particularly the very scarce gold issues
- Proof finish: All coins in the EIC's Three Graces series are offered in a fine proof finish. This labour intensive striking standard means you can enjoy the iconic design in the way it was intended
- Range of denominations: 2021 Saint Helena Three Graces coins are available in both gold and silver proof, with face values between One Pound and Five Pounds offering options for every budget
- Start of a series: the 2021 St Helena Three Graces is the first release in the East India Company's The Masterpiece Collection. You'll want to get ahold of these before the next coins in this collection become available.
There's a lot to like about these East India Company coins and we're sure that our limited stock of the 2021 St Helena Three Graces will disappear fast. Act now to secure yours.
Frequently Asked Questions
Small differences make the 2021 Saint Helena Three Graces distinct from other Three Graces reissues. This includes the East India Company mint mark which appears on the reverse and the 'Saint Helena' legend used on the obverse. The EIC Three Graces is your chance to own a sold out design.
The 2021 Saint Helena Three Graces is an opportunity to own William Wyon’s revered 1817 design. The East India Company Three Graces is different from the original proof coins and other reissues, thanks to the EIC mint mark and the use of Jody Clark's Commonwealth portrait of Elizabeth II, rather than the domestic effigy.
The 2021 Saint Helena Three Graces is available in Gold Proof, Silver Proof and a range of denominations from One Pound to Five Pounds. Here at The Britannia Coin Company we have ready to ship stock of One Ounce and Two Ounce East India Company Three Graces in both Gold and Silver Proof.
The Masterpiece Collection is a new collectors series from the East India Company, promising to offer history's most beautiful coinage designs to a modern audience. The first release in this new series was 2021's Saint Helena Three Graces: a reissue of William Wyon’s iconic 1817 Crown pattern.
William Wyon's Three Graces marked a spectacular start to the East India Company's The Masterpiece Collection. Here at The Britannia Coin Company we don't know yet what iconic designs will be added to this promising collection but we're excited to find out.
A range of Saint Helena 2021 Three Graces coins are available from The Britannia Coin Company today, including One Ounce and Two Ounce Silver Proof options and highly limited Gold Proof strikings in One Ounce and Two Ounce weights. All UK purchases include free insured delivery.
East India Company commemorative coins are minted in cooperation with the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena. Saint Helena has its own Pound, distinct from the British Pound Sterling. This means that the East India Company's coins are not legal tender in the UK and not Capital Gains Tax free.
East India Company commemorative coins are issued by the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena. The St Helena pound is technically a different currency to the British Pound Sterling though they have a fixed parity. However, this means that the 2021 Saint Helena Three Graces is not legal tender in the UK.
As investment gold, Gold Proof 2021 Saint Helena Three Graces coins are VAT free in the UK. This includes the One Ounce and Two Ounce Three Graces. Silver Proof East India Company Three Graces coins are, however, subject to VAT, as is all silver bullion.
The 2021 East India Company Three Graces is minted in Saint Helena pounds. Though this currency is fixed at parity to the British pound sterling they are distinct and the St Helena pound is not legal tender in the UK. This means that Gold Proof 2021 Saint Helena Three Graces coins are not Capital Gains Tax (CGT) free.