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Queen Victorias's portraits

Queen Victorias's portraits

British coins have always portrayed the reigning monarch. Today, I'm going to tell about the portraits of Queen Victoria, the severe-looking woman, who appears on your old English coins (see photo). You'll see that there also have been very beautiful portraits of Victoria.

During her reign, from 1837 to 1901, three main portraits followed one another on British coins:
  • the young head, engraved by William Wyon, from 1838 to 1859
  • the bun head, engraved by his eldest son Leonard Charles Wyon, from 1860 to 1894
  • the veiled head, engraved by Thomas Brock, from 1895 to 1901

There also have been two more specific portraits:
  • the portrait which appeared on florins from 1847 to 1887, a work of William Wyon
  • the jubilee head, designed by Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm and engraved by Leonard Charles Wyon for the queen's jubilee in 1887. This portrait raised a general disapprobation, due to the ridiculously small crown on top of the queen's head.

Victoria's portraits on British coins, in the same order as in the text

These portraits are usually surrounded with an abbreviated Latin legend, which should be read: "Victoria, Dei gratia, Brittaniarum regina, Fidei defenstrix, Indiae imperatrix". This can be translated by : Victoria, by the Grace of God, Queen of the Britains, Defender of the Faith (a title of British monarchs since the 16th century), Empress of India (concerning Victoria, from 1876).

There also were many other portraits, designed especially for British colonies and dominions.

Victoria's portraits on coins from India, Canada and Jersey


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Author Message
Joined: 12-Aug-2010
Posts: 8
This was really interesting and helpful as i am considering collecting coins from the victorian era quite strongly, so thanks for the post, are these coins worth any value and are they very common or hard to find?



Joined: 19-Aug-2007
Posts: 1712
Some are common and you can buy them for a few pounds, even in excellent condition. Some are expensive, like the sovereigns and some other coins (e.g. 20 cents province of Canada). Most are readily available.

Si tu cognes ta tête contre une cruche et que ça sonne creux, ce n'est pas forcément la cruche... lollll mon proverbe préféré !

james wolfe
Joined: 2-Mar-2011
Posts: 1187
:) very nice,well done !!!  :)


Joined: 7-Feb-2011
Posts: 2346
I realise this is an old topic but I was hoping that we could rationalise the Victoria portraits in the catalogue and assign them either numbers or names or both. At the moment there is a mix-up where sometimes the same number is given to different portraits and vice-versa. Is there a convention already in place somewhere else that we can adopt?

Just because you can't see it ... doesn't mean it isn't there - Anon

Catalogue referee for Celtic Britain, England, United Kingdom, New Zealand & Pre-Union South Africa

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