The 1848 gold sovereign features the young head portrait of Queen Victoria as the obverse design, with the crowned shield alternative to the famed "st george and the dragon" earning this particular varient of Queen Victoria gold sovereign the name of "Shield Back".
The 1848 gold sovereign is the first date for the Queen Victoria "second head" shield sovereign. In 1848, there were two varieties of shield sovereigns. This is the second type, issued from 1848 to 1872, it has a slightly larger head in lower relief, and the reverse legends are repositioned. The first type, issued from 1838 to 1848, has a smaller head in higher relief. See the "First Head" shield sovereign here.
Trying to spot the differences in detail is quite difficult, but it is very easy to sort them "by sight". Once you get used to looking at the different variations, you should be able to recognise the second head instantly because of the change in the size of Queen Victoria's head.
Here we advertise for sale the 1848 larger head (Spink reference 3852C, Marsh 31). If you want to read more about the types and sub types of the 1848 sovereign please see the 'More Info' section.
See the rest of the 1848 Sovereign Collection.
Photographs shown may not be the actual coin and may differ in terms of grade, die numbers, design flaws and other minor details. Contact us if you require a photograph prior to purchase.
In 1848, there were two varieties of shield sovereigns. The first (rarer) type, issued from 1838 to 1848, has a smaller head in higher relief (Spink reference 3852, Marsh 31A). The second type, issued from 1848 to 1872, has a slightly larger head in lower relief, and the reverse legends are repositioned (Spink reference 3852C, Marsh 31). There are some reports of an 8 over 7 in the date and missing serif's in the I's on the reverse.
Hammered gold coins called 'sovereigns' had been minted on and off between 1489-1604, whereupon James I (VI) changed the name of the 20/- gold piece to a 'Unite'. The reform coinage sovereign of 1817 onwards was issued as a normal circulation type coin, and also as a proof.
Designed by William Wyon, Chief Engraver, the obverse features the second (large) young head portrait facing left of the young Queen at just 18 years old. This larger bust fills more of the area of the coin and shows Victoria's hair held by a double fillet and gathered into a loosely knotted bun. The initials W.W. are set in relief in the rear of the truncation, the date is under the bust.
The inscription reads
VICTORIA DEI GRATIA
and the date (1848) appears below the portrait.
The reverse of the 1848 sovereign was designed by engraver, Jean Baptiste Merlen. It features the shield design, which is mounted by a crown. It also has a branch of laurel leaves on either side. The branches are tied, with a ribbon in a bow, below the shield.
Beneath this, the reverse displays the thistle, rose and shamrock (symbolising the unity of Scotland, England and Ireland) with a small flower stop on each side.
The inscription reads
BRITANNIARUM REGINA FID: DEF:
completing the monarch's legend, which begins on the obverse.
|Weight / Size||Full|
|Gold Weight Troy Ounces||0.23535|
|Fineness / Carat||0.917 / 22|
|Obverse Designer||William Wyon|
|Reverse Designer||Jean Baptiste Merlen|
|Issuing Monarch||Victoria (1837-1901)|
|Mint / Brand||The Royal Mint|
|Obverse Grade||Reverse Grade||Price||Availability|
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Bullion coins are provided as is and on occasion may have some minor scratches or edge knocks. These are not regarded as faulty or damaged goods as their gold content and value as a bullion coin is not affected. Any coin sold for a value less than a 180% intrinsic is considered a bullion coin.
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All investment products are based on the live precious metal price. Prices will be fixed once the item has been added to the basket and recalculates just before checking out.
If your product is not a graded coin and is considered a bullion item it should be noted that these are bought and sold on low premiums over their precious metal content and not solely for aesthetic purposes, therefore some products may have edge knocks and/or marks. These edge knocks and marks do not alter the specifications of the coins.
Please note that all investment products are exempt from the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 and therefore customers do not have the right to cancel their order once the order has been accepted. If customers no longer wish to go ahead with their investment purchase, there is an option to sell the products back to Chard (1964) Ltd instead. View our current buy back prices.
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If you would like to read more about the gold sovereign, perhaps Britains most iconic numismatic piece: