The world’s first sovereigns of New Zealand in honour of Queen Victoria’s 200th Anniversary
You know just how important the gold sovereign is in Britain, and elsewhere in the world. It has a prestigious reputation around the globe. You may also be aware that this reputation was established in the reign of Queen Victoria when the sovereign was the “chief coin of the world’, being legal tender in over 30 different nations and territories, and accepted in dozens more.
However, one of the reasons it established this global reputation is because it was minted not just here in Britain, but also by branches of Britain’s mint that were set up in Australia, Canada, South Africa and India? This gave the gold sovereign global reach – minted to the same exacting standards of purity and weight in a number of locations throughout the Empire – it meant that gold flowed through the veins of the British Empire and through trade, on to the rest of the world.
However, only a handful of countries and colonies in the Empire produced sovereigns. New Zealand, for example, didn’t. That is, until now. The New Zealand Treasury has taken the exceptional decision to produce gold sovereign coins in honour of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria.
Why would this anniversary lead to New Zealand taking this extraordinary step? Queen Victoria is the first monarch of New Zealand, it being established as a colony in 1840 when British sovereignty was proclaimed. Finally, New Zealand can join the list of important Empire and Commonwealth nations that have gold sovereigns carrying their names.
These coins are available now from Hattons of London. They feature striking designs that marry the old with the new, with portraits of Queen Victoria framed with a koru design representing the royal generations past, present and future. A lattice stained-glass effect symbolises the web of territories that Queen Victoria reigned over during the early peak of the British Empire.
New Zealand’s first sovereigns honour its first monarch, Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837 and went on to become one of the most celebrated monarchs in history, with an empire that covered a quarter of the globe at its height. The islands of New Zealand became a Crown colony in 1840 following the Treaty of Waitangi, making Queen Victoria the first monarch of New Zealand.
Now, New Zealand’s first ever sovereign coins have been released to honour the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth. Each coin features a different effigy of the Queen as used on the coinage of her reign, from the early ‘bun’ portrait of Victoria in her youth to the ‘jubilee’ portrait commissioned to celebrate 50 years on the throne.
Gold sovereigns from New Zealand – a world first!
In the 1860s, at the time of New Zealand’s biggest gold strike, no mint existed in the country. Neighbouring Australia, however, had a mint in Sydney and so New Zealand’s raw gold was shipped there to be made into coins for international trade. Now, for the very first time, New Zealand is issuing its own gold sovereigns. These coins are all world firsts!