Born on 24 May 1819, Queen Victoria went on to become, until recently, the longest serving monarch in British history. Ruler of the largest empire the world has ever since, and reigning through a period of tumultuous social and technological upheaval, her name has come to describe the 19th century as the Victorian Age. There are few more appropriate subjects for numismatic commemoration than the Queen of the British Empire at its height.
The Perth Mint is today launching four coins. We’ll look at the bigger proof pair first as they share a common design. We’re all familiar with the various effigies of Queen Elizabeth II that adorn the obverse faces of quite literally billions of coins, but this isn’t a new thing. Queen Victoria also had many different representations in the numismatic world, and the Perth Mint has chosen four of them for showcasing on the reverse of this coin. Each appeared on Australian currency between 1857, some 20 years after she took the throne, to her death in 1901. The four effigies surround a replica of St Edward’s Crown, the solid gold centrepiece of the British Crown Jewels since 1661. A classic numismatic style that will resonate with royalty coin collectors and available in 1oz silver and 2oz gold.
The more striking release however, is an attractive antique-finished 2oz silver coin. The most visible element on display is a faux cameo of Victoria, based on an original created by the son of Royal Mint Chief Engraver William Wyon, Leonard Charles Wyon. Cameo’s, popularly created from sea-shells in Victorian times, trace their history back to pre-Roman times in other forms, remaining relatively popular today. While the one present in the centre of the coin is a simple affair, it does appear to be an effective copy of one. The filigree border is nicely done, and the Perth Mint has become very adept at applying an antique finish over its many releases during the last half-decade or so.
The last coin is a ¼oz gold coin with a proof finish that carries just a single effigy of Victoria. The same Leonard Charles Wyon version that formed the basis of the cameo is used here, and is surrounded by a border carrying two stylised wattle branches and the title inscriptions.
Packaging of the silver coins is basically the same. The black box with the clear acrylic lid is a new type we don’t doubt we’ll be seeing a lot more of. It seems to be a fine way to display most types of coin. The gold coins come in more traditional wooden boxes, but all variants come with serialised certificates. All coins are available today either directly from the mint, or from their numerous dealers around the world.