At the end of her time as monarch, Queen Victoria was the longest-reigning British monarch. She was succeeded by her eldest son, Edward VII. To celebrate the royal relationship between mother and son The Royal Mint has collated this two-coin Sovereign set, featuring the first Sovereign struck for Edward VII and the last struck for Queen Victoria.
Queen Victoria Sovereign, 1901
After a reign of almost 64 years, the longest of any British monarch to that date, Queen Victoria died on 22 January 1901. Proclaimed the Empress of India in 1877, Queen Victoria was monarch over territories that covered a fifth of the Earth’s surface. She formed alliances with a number of European royal dynasties through the marriages she arranged for her children and grandchildren. Sovereigns issued in 1901 featured Pistrucci’s ageless depiction of George and the dragon on the reverse and the third and last of Queen Victoria’s three main coinage portraits on the obverse. Known as the ‘veiled head’ or ‘old head’ portrait, it was designed by Sir Thomas Brock RA and replaced the short-lived ‘jubilee head’ portrait, which was designed by Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm RA. The inscription as part of the veiled head design includes ‘IND IMP’, which reflects Queen Victoria’s imperial title.
Edward VII Sovereign, 1902
On Queen Victoria’s death, her son Albert Edward became king at the age of 59, taking the regnal name Edward VII. Our 1901 Annual Report states that Immediately after the accession of the King steps were taken for the preparation of models of the Royal effigy, which were entrusted to Mr De Saulles, the Engraver to the Mint … The design ultimately approved for the obverse of the coins consisted of His Majesty’s portrait in profile, without decoration of any kind, the head turned to the right being truncated in a similar manner to the effigy on the first coinage of Her late Majesty and on the coinages of most of Her Royal predecessors since the reign of Charles II. Issued in 1902, the first coins of Edward VII’s reign included 4.5 million Sovereigns. Of these, 5,000 Sovereigns bore the coinage portrait of the late queen, as they had been struck the previous year and were still being held in stock at the start of the new reign.