Diameter: 52.000 mm
On loan from the Royal Mint .
Room 68: Money
Steel dies for a silver crown of Queen Victoria
Great Britain, AD 1847
Used for minting a mid-19th century coin
A coin die is the annealed (hardened) steel stamp used to leave an impression on a coin during the minting process. The design of the coin is engraved into the surface of the die so that when the die hits the blank coin it leaves a design in raised relief.
The engraver of the portrait of Queen Victoria on this coin die was William Wyon, the most celebrated member of a family of engravers, of whom several worked for the Royal Mint in the nineteenth century. In this coin the Queen appears in the 'Gothic' style fashionable at the time: she is shown in profile, wearing a seemingly medieval dress, and with her hair plaited. The Gothic lettering on the coin, which was admired by Victoria herself, was quite novel in nineteenth-century British coin design.
The coin was designed in 1846 and was minted the year after, in an edition of 8,000 coins. It seems to have been intended for collectors rather than for circulation. The coins were sent to banks for distribution. Two years later Wyon produced a similar design for the new florin, a two shilling coin worth one tenth of a pound, which was issued as a result of agitation for decimal coinage in the 1840s. The first florin, on which the words 'Dei gratia' ('By the grace of God') were omitted, came to be known as the 'Godless' florin.
W.J. Hocking, Catalogue of the coins, tokens (London, HMSO, 1910)