Queen Victoria Heritage Coinage

Queen Victoria Coinage

Queen Victoria, Britain’s second-longest reigning monarch, presided over huge industrial change and expansion of the empire, and the impact that her reign had on British society has been profound.

Here at Hattons of London, we have released an incredible new range celebrating Queen Victoria’s 125th Diamond Jubilee Anniversary. However, if you favour heritage items, continue reading as we explore all of the Queen Victoria heritage coinage that we currently have available.

Queen Victoria Veiled Portrait Silver & Bronze Set 

In 1893 a new portrait of Queen Victoria was introduced on British gold and silver coinage, also used on the bronze coins from 1895. The new portrait of Queen Victoria depicted her in a widow’s veil – the only time in our history a monarch has been depicted this way – and as such it has become known as the Veiled Portrait. This was the final coinage of Queen Victoria’s reign, and in historical terms this makes it one of the shortest lived portraits not only in Queen Victoria’s reign, but in our entire coinage history.

There were six silver coins and three bronze coins produced for everyday circulation in Britain at the time of the Veiled Portrait. This set is comprised of all nine silver and bronze definitive coins, from the farthing right up to the large silver crown. As bronze coins only started to feature this portrait from 1895, these are original coins minted in the era 1895 to 1901, so they are now 120 years old!

Queen Victoria Veiled Portrait Bronze Year Set 

We also have available a matching year-date bronze set of Queen Victoria’s last coinage. The new portrait of Queen Victoria released in 1893 depicted her in a widow’s veil and became known as the ‘Veiled Portrait’. This was to be the final coinage of a monarch whose reign had rewritten history, as her death in 1901 brought it to an end just nine years after its introduction.

There were three bronze coins produced for everyday circulation in Britain at the time of the Veiled Portrait. These bronze coins were the penny, halfpenny and farthing, all of which featured Britannia seated holding a trident and shield. Hattons of London are pleased to be able to make available matching year-date sets in which all the coins bear the same year-date as each other. As the bronze coins only started to feature this portrait from 1895, the sets will be from one of the years in the range 1895 to 1901.

Queen Victoria Jubilee Portrait Gold Sovereign of 1887 

Again, in 1887 a new portrait of Queen Victoria was created to coincide with the Golden Jubilee; the ‘Jubilee Head’ or ‘Jubilee Portrait’. The portrait was replaced as it had been deeply unpopular, not just with the public but also with the Queen herself. Therefore, the ‘Jubilee Head’ was one of the shortest-lived portraits in the history of British coinage. Certainly, as far as the gold coinage was concerned, there were only six dates of gold sovereign produced, which makes the Jubilee Portrait one of the shortest-lived types of the entire gold sovereign series.

This sovereign was also made silver 1.25% of silver instead of copper and features the classic depiction of St George slaying the dragon; a design that has become synonymous with the British sovereign. Significantly, the 1887 coin is also the lowest mintage of all six years of Jubilee Portrait sovereigns; just 1.1 million coins. This means the 1887 sovereign accounts for less than 4% of the Jubilee Portrait coins struck across six years. As both the first date, and the lowest mintage of its type, along with being the only year ever struck in ‘yellow gold’, the 1887 sovereign is one of the most significant collector coins of the Victorian Age

The Queen Victoria Gold Sovereign of 1838-1874 

Victoria came to the throne in 1837 but the first gold sovereign of her reign was not struck until the following year in1838. Designed by William Wyon, one of the greatest designers and engravers in the history of British coinage, this coin depicts Queen Victoria as a young woman with her hair raised and tied with a ribbon. The portrait, executed with great skill and style, was so popular that it was in use until 1887. By this time, despite its beauty and style, it had little resemblance to Her Majesty Queen Victoria who was almost 70 years of age.

The reverse design, created by engraver Jean Baptiste Merlen, is the armorial shield of Great Britain.  It features the arms of the four countries of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland within a shield, topped by a crown.  A wreath encircles the shield and below the wreath is an intertwined rose, thistle and shamrock. King George IV was the first monarch to use the armorial shield as the reverse design of his gold sovereigns and this carried on into the reign of William IV. In 1874, the Royal Mint ceased using the Shield design, and it has only been used on one further occasion on the gold sovereign; a special one-year only issue in 2002 for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.