The 1856 22 carat gold full sovereign features the young head portrait of Queen Victoria, designed by William Wyon. The reverse however, reveals the namesake of the coin, the "shield back soverign" showing the crowned shield of the royal arms by Jean Baptise Merlen.
The 1856 gold sovereign is the ninth date for the Queen Victoria "second head" shield sovereign. This second type of Victoria sovereign was issued from 1848 to 1872, has a slightly larger head in lower relief, and the reverse legends are repositioned.
See the rest of the 1856 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 1856, there was only one main type of shield sovereign. This type and date are listed under Spink reference 3852D and Marsh 39. Interestingly, there are some subtypes that have been sold recently that are not listed in the above references. These are (1) 1856 large date (although we can't see any difference!) (2) 1856 overdate with the 5 stamped over another numeral. We have neither of these subtypes in stock.
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.
It should be noted that there were also 'AUSTRALIA' reverse sovereigns issued in Sydney in this year.
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 incuse on the truncation.
The inscription reads
VICTORIA DEI GRATIA
and the date (1856) appears below the portrait.
The reverse of the 1856 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|
|Mint / Brand||The Royal Mint|
|Obverse Grade||Reverse Grade||Price||Availability|
|aVF||gVF||£851.49||Out of Stock|
|gFine||VF||£610.69||Out of Stock|
|11 July 2018||gFine||VF||£365.43|
|15 November 2018||aVF||gVF||£716.79|
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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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