The Isle of Man is one of the many of the British Isles in the Irish Sea, between Britain and Ireland. Very picturesque, from the looks of it. I had never particularly heard of it until very recently, when I discovered that they had minted five different coins with an Arthurian theme. English crowns, but specific to the Isle of Man.
They each have Queen Elizabeth II’s regal profile on one side, but there are five different “tails” so to speak. One pictures King Arthur in all his royal splendor, one the knightly Sir Lancelot, one the fair Queen Guinevere, one the mysterious Merlin, and lastly glorious Camelot. I think it’s pretty amazing that something so seemingly mundane and everyday as a coin could be such a work of art.
I thought this was also an obvious signifier of the impact Arthurian legends have had on British culture. Even though much of the legend was cultivated by French authors, King Arthur definitely belongs to the English. Mostly the pictures minted on coins are those of leaders and national symbols. King Arthur is a combination of these two; a symbol of what a leader should be. He is the golden standard of English values and their faith in their monarchy. And his kingdom, filled with chivalrous knights, beautiful queens, magic, and striking castles, represents the ideal and culture of Britain.