If the many thousands of coin collectors in the United Kingdom were asked to nominate the finest engraver ever to produce designs for the coinage of Britain it is likely that William Wyon would find a place at the top of everyone’s list.
However, not many people know that he wasn’t the only Wyon to design coins for The Royal Mint. Starting with Peter in the 18th century, several of the Wyon family would become leading dye-engravers, coin designers and medallists, with two becoming chief engravers at The Royal Mint.
When large deposits of gold were found in Australia in the mid-19th century, the colonial government of New South Wales sought permission from the British to open a branch of The Royal Mint in Sydney in 1853. The first gold Sovereigns to be produced at the new branch Mint were designed by James Wyon, the cousin of William. This portrait was not well received, with many criticising that the portrait of Queen Victoria was somewhat too mature.
In 1856 Leonard Charles Wyon, the son of William, began to redesign the obverse of the Australia Sovereigns, with a younger Queen now wreathed in native Australian banksia, which appealed to the growing patriotism of the Australian people. The design was very well received and today Australia Sovereigns are amongst the most sought after by collectors around the world.
|Alloy||22 Carat Gold|
|Obverse Designer||Leonard C Wyon|
|Pure Metal Type||Gold|