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This collection includes three different 22 karat gold sovereign coins issued during the reign of Queen Victoria. The set includes a "Young Head" effigy issued from 1871 to 1884, a "Jubilee Head" issued from 1887-1893, and an "Old Head" type issued from 1893 to 1901. All three coins are in superb about uncirculated condition. The set comes presented in a mahogany finish display case with an information page about the coins.
The British gold "sovereign" is one of the most popular and historically important coins of the past two centuries, although the history of this coin actually dates back to the late 15th century. The first of these one pound coins was struck in 1489 during the reign of King Henry VII. The obverse design depicted the King enthroned in majesty, giving the coins their name "sovereign".
With the advent of new steam powered minting machinery made by Boulton and Watt, the coinage of Great Britain and its colonies went through a major transformation starting in 1816. New coins could now be produced with much greater efficiency, and new standards were introduced for both gold and silver coins. In 1817, the first sovereigns were struck in 22 karat gold featuring the king on the obverse and St. George slaying the dragon on the reverse.
The legend of St. George and the Dragon dates back to the second century C.E. According to the legend, a town was victimized by a dragon. The inhabitants of the town first attempted to placate the dragon by offerings of sheep, and then by the sacrifice of various members of their community. The daughter of the King was chosen by lot and was taken out to await the coming of the monster, but George arrived and killed the dragon with his sword. In the 14th century, George became patron saint of England.
During the reign of Queen Victoria, the British Empire spanned much of the globe, and a high quality gold coin was needed to facilitate the growing commerce between England, the British Colonies, and the rest of the world. The sovereign efficiently filled this role, and became legal tender in all the British colonies including Canada. Three different major effigy styles were produced between 1838 and 1901, featuring Victoria at different stages of her life.
Through the reigns of Queen Victoria, King Edward VII and King George V, gold sovereigns were struck not only in England, but also at mints in Canada, Australia, South Africa and India, making this one of the first true international currencies of the world.
• Set of Three Different British Empire Queen Victoria Gold Sovereign Coins