This Berserker, biting his shield in his battle fury, is one of the 67 Lewis chess pieces in the collection of the British Museum, part of a remarkable hoard of carved walrus ivory. They were probably made in Norway, about AD 1150-1200 and were found in 1831 on the Isle of Lewis, one of 500 islands in the Outer Hebrides, off the western coast of Scotland. The hoard consists of 93 pieces and includes 78 chessmen, 14 large gaming counters, and an elaborately carved belt buckle. Eleven of the chessmen are at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh and the rest of the hoard is at the British Museum. The chess pieces testify to the strong cultural and political connections between the kingdoms of the British Isles and Scandinavia in the Middle Ages. Chess travelled via the Islamic world to Christian Europe, where the game was adapted to reflect medieval European society.
The 2023-issue 2.5 oz, 999.0 fine silver proof coin appears in a strictly limited mintage of 5,000. The 50mm diameter, legal tender coin bears the effigy of the late Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse and is minted by PAMP, one of the world’s finest mints.
The protective packaging features the intricate carved ivory of one of the chess pieces, and acts as a numbered certificate of authenticity, with statements of weight, purity, and quality, together with the signature of the accredited Swiss assayer at PAMP.
© 2023 The Trustees of the British Museum
|99.9% fine silver