Today sees the release of the second side of The Royal Mint's remastered Gothic Crown. The Gothic Portrait is the latest collection in the Great Engravers range, following three previous designs associated with nineteenth-century engraver William Wyon.
This remarkable image of Queen Victoria is much admired and this new version has been eagerly anticipated. Here's what you need to know about about the original 1847 Crown and the new proof coins.
The Great Engravers So Far
Billed as a celebration of historic coinage design, The Royal Mint's Great Engravers range has proved hugely popular.
The series kicked off with Una and the Lion: recreating an engraving by Royal Mint Chief Engraver, William Wyon, first used in 1839 celebrate Queen Victoria's coronation. The limited edition 2019 reissue offered buyers a chance to own a sought-after design in a range of metals and denominations, including the largest gold coin the Mint had ever offered to that point.
An earlier design by Wyon - his Three Graces - was the subject of the second instalment in the Great Engravers series. Originally crafted for an 1817 pattern coin, the success of the remastered 2020 Three Graces inspired similar offers from the East India Company and the Commonwealth Mint as well as much speculation about the next release.
The 1847 Gothic Crown
We were excited to learn that The Royal Mint would be focusing on the Gothic Crown for their third Great Engravers collection.
This Victorian coin got its name from its intricate, medieval-style details. Gothic Revival was in vogue in the 1840s: you can see the influence of this art movement in contemporary architecture, fashion and the remarkable 1847 Crown. As with previous designs featured in The Great Engravers series its the work of William Wyon, crafted towards the end of his life in a very different style to his earlier masterpieces.
The limited initial mintage of around 8,000 pieces as well as a range of variations contributed to immediate and ongoing interest from collectors. Extant examples appear in fine silver, sterling and gold, with and without inscribed edges. Silver specimens with an edge reading 'DECUS ET TUTAMEN ANNO REGNI SEPTIMO' ('An Ornament and a Safeguard, Regnal Year Seven') are among the rarest. A genuine 1847 Crown is a serious investment these days though a very similar design can be found on some more affordable Victorian Florins including the infamous Godless Florin.
A plain edge Gothic Crown, one of several 1847 Crowns we have been pleased to offer in the last year.
As well as its Gothic Revival style, the Gothic Crown is different from previous designs offered in the Great Engravers series in that both sides of the original coin are admired by numismatists. To create legal tender coins, The Royal Mint has chosen to strike the 1847 coin's obverse and reverse separately.
2021 Gothic Quartered Arms
The first release, late in 2021 featured the highly-detailed quartered arms reverse of the 1847 coin, engraved by Wyon from drawings by Scottish artist William Dyce. We were able to offer a comprehensive range of these Great Engravers coins, including:
- 2021 Gothic Quartered Arms 2 Ounce Silver Proof Great Engravers (4,006 minted)
- 2021 Gothic Quartered Arms 5 Ounce Silver Proof Great Engravers (506)
- 2021 Gothic Quartered Arms 10 Ounce Silver Proof Great Engravers (231)
- 2021 Gothic Quartered Arms 1 Kilo Silver Proof Great Engravers (128)
- 2021 Gothic Quartered Arms 2 Kilo Silver Proof Great Engravers (53)
- 2021 Gothic Quartered Arms 2 Ounce Gold Proof Great Engravers (411)
- 2021 Gothic Quartered Arms 2 Ounce Plain Edge Gold Proof (125)
- 2021 Gothic Quartered Arms 5 Ounce Gold Proof Great Engravers (181)
- 2021 Gothic Quartered Arms 10 Ounce Gold Proof Great Engravers (56)
- 2021 Gothic Quartered Arms 1 Kilo Gold Proof Great Engravers (22)
- 2021 Gothic Quartered Arms 2 Kilo Gold Proof Great Engravers (9)
- 2021 Gothic Quartered Arms 5 Kilo Silver Proof Great Engravers (just 2 issued!)
It's been particularly interesting to see the reverse design on very large coins, as well as in gold. It highlights the intricacy of a design that we have hitherto only been able to appreciate on a 38.00 millimetre surface.
One of only two made, the five kilogram gold proof 2021 Quartered Arms Gothic Crown comes in a bespoke crate and case.
It sounds like Gordon Summers, current Chief Engraver to the Royal Mint, thought the same when remastering the 1847 design for the new series. He said:
'In working on this coin, I've become aware of the staggering level of thought that has gone into its tiniest details. In a time when we equate perfection with mechanical precision, it is amazing to witness the results of the thousands of micro-decisions made by Wyon when engraving ...'
William Wyon's Gothic Portrait
Next up is the famed obverse of the Gothic Crown, designed and engraved by Wyon for the 1847 coin.
Wyon had previously created several images of Queen Victoria for coins and medals, including the ‘Young Head' portrait. However, when he was commissioned in 1846 for an updated profile, intended for a new British silver Crown, he was able to elevate what could have become routine work.
His Gothic portrait is different in many ways from his previous images of Victoria. For starters, the effigy is hardly truncated and dominates the available space. Her shoulders, clothed in sumptuously detailed robes, extend nearly to the bottom edge while her crown brushes the top. The crown is a notable aspect of the design. Charles II was the last British monarch to have appeared crowned on his coinage. Wyon bucks the trend, crowning his Queen. Like the reverse of the Gothic Crown, the obverse utilises medieval-style ‘blackletter' or ‘gothic' lettering.
The two ounce gold proof 2021 Gothic Portrait featuring two queens.
This unique portrait of Queen Victoria is paired with a modern image of her great-great-grandaughter, Queen Elizabeth II by Jody Clark on coins in the Gothic Portrait range.
The New Gothic Portrait Range
Released on 7 January 2022, the day after Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee, Great Engravers coins featuring the Gothic Portrait have a 2021 date. Mintage figures are the same as the previous collection.
- 2021 Gothic Portrait 2 Ounce Silver Proof Great Engravers
- 2021 Gothic Portrait 5 Ounce Silver Proof Great Engravers
- 2021 Gothic Portrait 10 Ounce Silver Proof Great Engravers
- 2021 Gothic Portrait 1 Kilo Silver Proof Great Engravers
- 2021 Gothic Portrait 2 Kilo Silver Proof Great Engravers
- 2021 Gothic Portrait 2 Ounce Gold Proof Great Engravers
- 2021 Gothic Portrait 2 Ounce Plain Edge Gold Proof
- 2021 Gothic Portrait 5 Ounce Gold Proof Great Engravers
- 2021 Gothic Portrait 10 Ounce Gold Proof Great Engravers
- 2021 Gothic Portrait 1 Kilo Gold Proof Great Engravers
- 2021 Gothic Portrait 2 Kilo Gold Proof Great Engravers
- 2021 Gothic Portrait 5 Kilo Gold Proof Great Engravers
Obverse and reverse of the silver proof two ounce 2021 Great Engravers Gothic Portrait.
We guaranteed all buyers of our Quartered Arms Gothic Crowns first refusal on the Gothic Portrait for the same price. We still have a few leftover, however, in a range of denominations, so if you bought the Quartered Arms elsewhere or just want the portrait then we can help you complete your set.
Find Out More
We previously shared a detailed blog post, delving further into the history and design of the 1847 Crown. You can read that here: The Gothic Crown: Victorian Art and the Road to Decimalisation.
We'll be sharing real photos and videos of new Gothic Portrait coins on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok feeds so you can get a sense of what these pieces look like in hand. Follow us for updates.