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Gold Sovereigns

1887 Melbourne Mint, Australia

22 Carat Gold

The reign of Victoria (1837-1901), niece of William IV, was long enough to prompt three distinctive portraits. These depicted her as the young woman of 18 on her ascension to the throne, as a mourning widow on her golden jubilee in 1887 and as an elderly empress in 1893 The initial reverse type for gold coins was the shield and crown motif,supplemented on the sovereign with a heraldic wreath.
This was succeeded in 1871 by the scene of St. George slaying the dragon

1887M Melbourne Mint Gold Sovereign Reverse

1887M Melbourne Mint Gold Sovereign Obverse

Young Head , St George
At the time when William Wyon's design was introduced, the nation was in its infancy. Australia had a growing gold mining industry, a land boom was in progress, the future looked bright for the fledgling nation. Needless to say, a sovereign during this period had a high value indeed, accounting for at least half a week’s wages for the average man.
The first portrait for Queen Victoria was the "Young Head", which was used on sovereigns from 1838 to 1887 inclusive. It was refined and modified a number of times during this period. In the case of the St George reverse, the date appears on the reverse ( With Shield reverse , the date appears below Victoria's portrait . ) with the mintmark on the obverse, just below the portrait.
When collectors examine a sovereign with the St George reverse, there are a certain number of points which are examined closely for strike & wear. From top to bottom, they are:
  • The crest of St George’s helmet;
  • St George’s chest, together with the strap & pin fastening his cloak;
  • The bridle as it crosses the horse’s neck;
  • The muscle separation in St George’s upper thigh;
  • The horse’s forequarters & rump;
  • The “bloodline” in the sword;
  • The upper band across St George’s boot;
  • The dragon’s torso below it’s neck.



Composition: 91.67% Gold
8.33% Copper
Gold Content: 0.2354 oz
Edge: Reeded
Weight: 7.9881 grams
Size: 21.5 mm
Reverse: Benedetto Pistrucci
Obverse: William Wyon
Chard Gold Sovereigns Andrew Crellin of Sterling & Currency

The Sovereign
Daniel Fearon & Brian Reeds
17 Windmill Drive
Croxley Green, Hertfordshire
United Kingdom

Token Publishing

The Gold Sovereign
Golden Jubilee Edition

Michael A Marsh
25A St Neots Rd
Cambrigeshire CB3 7QH
United Kingdom