The Remarkable Woman who defined the Nineteenth Century
The young Victoria inherited the throne in 1837 at the age of 18. Her reign would last for more than 63 years, a Victorian era characterised by unprecedented change and progress. As queen and empress, Queen Victoria saw the British Empire spread far and wide, and when she died in 1901, almost a quarter of the world’s population used coins that bore her portrait.
An Evolving Portrait of the Victorian Era
Three silver crowns, each with a different portrait from Queen Victoria’s long reign, are impressive canvases for each effigy. Together they chart her journey from a young queen to a global figurehead, in a reign of more than 63 years during which the United Kingdom was at the forefront of industrial, cultural and scientific progress. Her first coins were introduced in 1838, featuring William Wyon’s idealistic ‘Young Head’ portrait on the obverse and a new Royal Arms (which has not changed since) on the reverse.
Heartbroken by the death of Prince Albert in 1861, Queen Victoria went into deep mourning. It was many years before she fully returned to public life, but by the time of her Golden Jubilee in 1887 her popularity was restored. Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm’s ‘Jubilee Head’ was issued at this time and was struck until 1893. Her final portrait, by Thomas Brock RA, was introduced that year. It shows us a dignified and veiled queen, and was struck until Queen Victoria’s death in 1901.