NGC Registry Updated NGC Registry

M.T. - Victorian Halfcrowns



Rank: 2
Score: 19591
Leading by: 9411
Points to Higher Rank: 8685
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Set Description:

Half Crowns were struck from 1839 to 1901, none were struck between 1851 and 1873 because of the striking of the new decimal coin the Florin which was struck in its place. There were three types of Half Crown struck for Victoria, they were the Young Head, Jubilee Head and the Old or Widow Head Types.

The Young Head Type

The Young Head Type was struck from 1839 to 1887 excluding 1847 and between 1851 and 1873. The metal used was .925 fine silver, they had a diameter of 32 millimetres and weighed approximately 14.1 grams. The left facing portrait was designed by William Wyon, originally the design had quite a high relief but in 1874 the design was changed and struck in a lower relief. The obverse inscription reads "VICTORIA DEI GRATIA" with the date below Victoria's bust. The reverse was designed by Jean Baptiste Merlen, the reverse design depicts a crowned shield with the Royal Standard on it. Their is a wreath which goes from the bottom of the shield around the two sides and almost meets with the crown at the top. The reverse inscription reads "BRITANNIARUM REGINA FID: DEF:".

What attracted me to Young Head Victorian half crowns, was (in my eyes) timeless beauty of Queen Victoria portrait. The Young Head portrait was created by William Wyon (1795 – 1851), chief engraver at The Royal Mint. It shows Victoria at only 18 years of age when she acceded to the throne and became Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The Young Head portrait has a neoclassical feel with the Queen's gently waved hair gathered into a loosely knotted bun or small ponytail. A small narrow plait appears behind the ear and narrows in width as it disappears into a tied arrangement at the back of her head from which two tight ringlets hang down. The hair sweeps low across her forehead and is restrained by two ribbons. William Wyon was clearly inspired by his admiration of the neo-classical style of his mentor John Flaxman to create this uncluttered and well-balanced portrait.
Now familiarly known as the Young Head, its beautiful features flattered the queen, who was a grandmother in her late 60s before she allowed it to disappear from the coinage. ‘You always represent me favourably’, she is reported to have told Wyon, while he, for his part, is said to have found the queen an excellent sitter.
William Wyon produced many great works besides his Victoria portraits. Highlights include his 1817 Three Graces pattern crown, the seated Britannia and skilful engravings of George IV and William IV, based on the sculptures of artist Francis Chantry. The consistently high quality of his work earned him recognition as an Associate and later Full Member of the Royal Academy. His unremitting work ethic may ultimately have led to William Wyon’s demise. In late 1851 he suffered what is now thought to be a stroke, leading to partial paralysis, and despite a move to Brighton to convalesce, he died on the 29th of October. His work, however, lives on, as does his standing as one of the most diligent and dedicated of all the Royal Mint’s Chief Engravers.

Date Mintage Date Mintage

1839 Not known 1874 2 188 599
1840 386 496 1875 1 113 483
1841 42 768 1876 633 221
1842 486 288 1877 447 059
1843 454 608 1878 1 466 232
1844 1 999 008 1879 901 356
1845 2 231 856 1880 1 346 350
1846 1 539 668 1881 2 301 495
1848 367 488 1882 808 227
1849LD 261 360 1883 2 982 779
1849SD Included 1884 1 569 175
1850 484 613 1885 1 628 438
1886 891 767
1887 261 747

The following proofs are known: 1839 (6 types), 1850, 1853, 1862 (2 types), 1864 (2 types), 1874, 1875, 1878, 1879, 1880, 1881 (2 types), 1883, 1885, 1886 and 1887.

The Jubilee Head Type
.
The Jubilee Head Type was struck from 1887 to 1892, the left facing portrait was designed by Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm and engraved by Leonard Charles Wyon. The coin takes its name the Jubilee Type from the design of Victoria's portrait depicting her in her new small light weight crown she had made especially for the Jubilee as the other crown was getting to heavy for her to wear for prolonged periods of time. The obverse inscription again reads "VICTORIA DEI GRATIA". The reverse was also engraved by Leonard Charles Wyon, it was of a crowned shield with the Royal Standard on it. going around the shield is a garter with an inscription on it which reads "HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE". The inscription "HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE" is in French, it is the motto of the English Chivalric Order of the Garter. Roughly translated it means "Shamed be he who thinks evil of it". The roots of the motto date back to Edward III, he was dancing with his daughter in law Joan of Kent when her garter slipped down her leg and rested around her ankle where everyone could see, this caused many in the room to laugh and snigger at her embarrassing situation, Edward distraught by the way his daughter in law was humiliated and looked down upon by the other guests made the statement "HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE" and took the garter and wore it around his own leg. The phrase later became the motto of the order in praise of Edwards chivalrous behaviour. The inscription going around the outside of the coin reads "BRITANNIARUM REGINA FID: DEF:" with the date at the bottom of the coin. The coin was made of .925 fine silver, they had a diameter of 32 millimetres and they weighed approximately 14.4 grams.

Date Mintage

1887 1 176 299
1888 1 428 787
1889 4 811 954
1890 3 228 111
1891 2 284 632
1892 1 710 946

The Old / Widow Head Type

The Old or Widow Head was struck from 1893 to 1901, the portrait and reverse design was by Sir Thomas Brock and both sides were engraved by George William De Saulles. The portrait depicted Victoria as being quite old and wearing her mourning Vail. The obverse inscription reads "VICTORIA . DEI . GRA . BRITT . REG . ". The reverse has a crowned shield bearing the Royal Standard, the shield is not as square as the others and instead is much more pointed towards the bottom. The reverse inscription reads ". FID . DEF . IND . IMP ." across the top and "HALF (date in middle) CROWN" across the bottom.The coin was made of .925 fine silver, they had a diameter of 32 millimetres and they weighed approximately 14.4 grams.

Date Mintage

1893 1 792 600
1894 1 542 960
1895 1 772 662
1896 2 148 505
1897 1 678 643
1898 1 870 055
1899 2 863 872
1900 4 479 128
1901 1 516 570

For the reasons mentioned above I set my heart mainly on Young Head Victorian Halfcrowns.
 Slot DescriptionGradeServiceScore
1839  
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1840  
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1841  
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1843  
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1845  
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1846  
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1848  
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1848/6  
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1849 LARGE DATE  
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1850  
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1874  
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1875  
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1876  
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1876/5  
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1877  
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1879  
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1881  
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1882  
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1883  
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1886  
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1887 YOUNG HEAD  
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1887 JUBILEE HEAD  
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1888  
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1889  
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1890  
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1891  
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1892  
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1893  
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1894  
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1895  
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1896  
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1897  
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1898  
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1899  
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1900  
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1901  
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