1887 Victoria 11 Coin Specimen Set Golden Jubilee
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An eleven-coin specimen set including gold and silver coinage from a significant year in the reign of Queen Victoria.
Eleven Coin Jubilee Set
In 1887 Queen Victoria marked her Golden Jubilee, celebrating fifty years since her ascension to the throne. A range of official festivities were held, including a banquet attended by fifty foreign kings and princes as well as the governing heads of Britain's overseas colonies and dominions.
A medal, stamps and new coins were also designed to commemorate the occasion. Indeed, 1887 was the first royal jubilee marked with a special issue of coinage.
This specimen set includes examples of eleven coins issued in Victoria's Golden Jubilee year, including four gold coins and seven silver coins:
- 1887 Gold Five Pound or Quintuple Sovereign
- 1887 Gold Two Pound or Double Sovereign
- 1887 Gold Sovereign
- 1887 Gold Half Sovereign
- 1887 Silver Crown
- 1887 Silver Double Florin
- 1887 Silver Half Crown
- 1887 Silver Florin
- 1887 Silver Shilling
- 1887 Silver Sixpence
- 1887 Silver Threepence
The Jubilee Portrait
All eleven coins in this specimen set bear an obverse portrait, introduced for the 1887 jubilee and designed by medallist and sculptor Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm.
Boehm’s 'Jubilee Head' shows the Queen with a long veil: a nod to the state of deep mourning she adopted after the death of her consort, Prince Albert, in 1861. The effigy was an accurate depiction of Victoria - then in her late sixties - but both the monarch and the press regarded it as undignified, mostly thanks to the small crown which looks at risk of toppling off the royal head. The design was removed from British currency after only a few short years.
On the gold coins in this set the Jubilee Portrait is paired with a longer-lasting nineteenth century coinage design: Benedetto Pistrucci's Saint George and the Dragon.
An Early Gold Five Pound
1887 wasn't just marked with the introduction of a new effigy but also with the release of a new coin into circulation.
Gold Five Pound pieces had been struck during the reigns of George III and George IV. Early in Victoria's reign a beautiful £5 coin, showing an allegorical depiction of the Queen, was minted for collectors. The Golden Jubilee year marked the first time this large gold denomination circulated.
The gold Two Pound coin in this 11-coin set is a similarly early example. Proof Double Sovereigns were first struck in 1820 and first circulated in 1823. The 1887 issue represents only the second time that this denomination appeared as currency.
While intended for circulation these scarce gold Double and Quintuple Sovereigns formed the basis of sets assembled by collectors. Since they were the hardest coins from this year to get hold of, fakes are common so it's pleasing to see a complete, original set, assembled in an attractive antique case.
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