• 1 Sovereign 1871-1885, KM# 752, United Kingdom (Great Britain), Victoria
  • 1 Sovereign 1871-1885, KM# 752, United Kingdom (Great Britain), Victoria
Description

The sovereign is a gold coin of the United Kingdom, with a nominal value of one pound sterling. Prior to 1932 it was a fully circulating coin within Britain's then Gold Standard currency. Named after the English gold sovereign, last minted in 1604, the name was revived with the Great Recoinage of 1816. Sovereigns have been minted in the United Kingdom from 1817 to 1917, in 1925, and from 1957 to the present. In the past Australia, Canada, and South Africa all occasionally minted the coins. In Victorian times it was the practice of the Bank of England to remove worn sovereigns and half sovereigns from circulation and to have them recoined.

Similar coin with mintmark (S or M) below head of the Queen is Australian Sovereign issues (KM# 7).

Obverse

Head of HM Queen Victoria facing to left (the 'Young Head' portrait), with a plain band and fillet around hair. The first effigy was introduced in 1838 and was used until 1895 on bronze coins. It shows Victoria at only 18 years of age, when she acceded to the throne. It has a neoclassical feel with the Queen's gently waved hair gathered into a loosely knotted bun or small ponytail. A small narrow plait appears behind the ear and narrows in width as it disappears into the tied arrangement at the back of her head from which two tight ringlets hang down. The hair sweeps low across her forehead and is restrained by two ribbons which are elaborately embroidered with Greek key designs. There are five small variations for the 'Young Head' portrait which are referred to as 'types'. Most of the types show differences in the ribbons which may also be called 'fillets' but the fifth type shows inferior workmanship. The artist's initials W.W. partly visible on the truncation of the neck.

VICTORIA DEI GRATIA BRITT REGINA FIDEI DEFENSATRIX means Victoria, by the grace of God, Queen of Britain and Defender of the Faith.

Engraver: William Wyon

VICTORIA D:G: BRITANNIAR:REG:F:D:
WW

Reverse

Depicts St. George on horseback holding short sword, the horse rearing to right over a fallen dragon which has a broken lance in its chest; in exergue, the date and the artist's initials B.P.

Saint George (between 275–281 AD to 23 April 303), according to legend, was a Roman soldier of Greek origin and officer in the Guard of Roman emperor Diocletian, who was sentenced to death for failing to recant his Christian faith.

According to the legend, the narrative episode of Saint George and the Dragon took place somewhere he called "Silene", in Libya. The town had a small lake with a plague-bearing dragon living in it and poisoning the countryside. To appease the dragon, the people of Silene fed it two sheep every day. When they ran out of sheep they started feeding it their children, chosen by lottery. One time the lot fell on the king's daughter. The king, in his grief, told the people they could have all his gold and silver and half of his kingdom if his daughter were spared; the people refused. The daughter was sent out to the lake, dressed as a bride, to be fed to the dragon.

Saint George by chance rode past the lake. The princess tried to send him away, but he vowed to remain. The dragon emerged from the lake while they were conversing. Saint George made the Sign of the Cross and charged it on horseback, seriously wounding it with his lance. He then called to the princess to throw him her girdle, and he put it around the dragon's neck. When she did so, the dragon followed the girl like a meek beast on a leash.

The princess and Saint George led the dragon back to the city of Silene, where it terrified the populace. Saint George offered to kill the dragon if they consented to become Christians and be baptised. Fifteen thousand men including the king of Silene converted to Christianity. George then killed the dragon, and the body was carted out of the city on four ox-carts. The king built a church to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint George on the site where the dragon died and a spring flowed from its altar with water that cured all disease.

Engraver: Benedetto Pistrucci

1874
B.P.

Edge

1 Sovereign

1st portrait
KM# 752 Sp# 3856
Characteristics
Material Gold
Fineness 0.916
Weight 7.99 g
Diameter 22 mm
Thickness -
Shape round
Alignment Coin
Mint
Royal Mint

Related coins

1st portrait

Gold, 7.99 g, ⌀ 22.05 mm