British coinage has had its fair share of fascinating tales over the years. When searching for coins, I’m always seeking to find classic coins whose numismatic interest and history mean that they will forever be sought-after pieces.
Which is why, with the help of my UK coin specialist, I’ve decided to narrow down what I believe to be six of the most interesting and collectable UK historic silver coins issued over the past 200 years.
Read below to discover the stories of six coins that cover some of the most important events in British numismatic history – including influential design changes, mistaken introductions and controversial issues.
The Great Recoinage Shilling – George III Bull Head Silver Sixpence
1816 marked one of the most important moments in the history of British coinage – The Great Recoinage. For Georgian Britain, it was a change as big as Decimalisation for you or me. The George III Bull Head Sixpence was introduced as part of an attempt to re-stabilise the currency following economic difficulties caused by both the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and marks one of the most important moments in British numismatic history.
The Coin of the Colonies – Victoria Silver Three Halfpence
During the 1800s demand grew for British coinage from all across the globe, with over 25% of the world’s population using coins bearing Queen Victoria’s portrait. The British three halfpence was a silver coin produced for circulation in the British colonies with a denomination which had never been seen in mainland Britain before. What makes this coin so interesting is that it has no indication of what country it was minted for, which meant that it could be used across most of the globe!
The Longest ‘Reigning’ Portrait – Victoria Young Head Shilling
The first effigy to feature on Queen Victoria’s coinage was the Young Head portrait featuring a particularly youthful and charming portrait of the young Queen. The Victoria Shilling featured the Young Head portrait from 1839 to 1887, which is the longest period a single portrait has ever featured on a British circulation coin.
The Withdrawn Sixpence Pair – 1887 Victoria Silver Sixpences
In 1887, new coin designs were issued to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. Surprisingly, the new design of the Silver Sixpence shared the same design as the Gold Half Sovereign. Of course, it didn’t take long for crafty opportunists to start coating the Silver Sixpence in gold paint and passing them off as the far more valuable Half Sovereign. The authorities hastily withdrew the Sixpence and a quick redesign took place with ‘SIX PENCE’ written across the middle of the coin.
The Rocking Horse Crown – 1935 George V Silver Crown
The ‘Rocking Horse’ Crown was issued for just one-year-only in 1935 to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of George V. Significantly, this special Silver Jubilee Crown was the first-time a commemorative crown was ever struck and started what is now one of the most popular numismatic collecting trends ever seen. Despite its significance, this coin caused controversy when it was first issued, with many traditionalists disliking the art deco reinterpretation of the iconic St. George and the Dragon design.
Each of these coins has unique story that makes them all must haves for any collector with an interest in historic UK coins. We’re certainly lucky to live in a nation with such a rich numismatic history!
However, these coins are now historic artefacts in their own right, and considering that many have been melted down over the past two centuries for their valuable silver content, they are now extremely rare.
I’m sure you’ll agree, that considering the fantastic history along with the scarcity of all six of these coins, they can all be considered amongst the most interesting and collectable UK Silver coins of the past 200 years.
If you’re interested…
Understandably, it is extremely difficult to build up a stock of these fascinating coins. But working with my extensive network of suppliers, I have been able to put together 22 sets of these iconic silver coins to now offer to my collectors. But with such limited numbers available you will need to act now if you want to add these fascinating coins to your collection.
Each year, The Royal Mint marks important British anniversaries, events or accomplishments on our coins and today we are delighted to reveal the UK’s new coin designs for 2019.
Scroll down for a first look at all five of the brand new designs…
The 200th Anniversary of the Birth of Queen Victoria £5
After ascending to the throne in 1838 Queen Victoria’s reign became the longest reign of a British monarch at the time. She oversaw a time of great change and expansion of the British Empire. This £5 coin has been issued to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of her birth and depicts some of the momentous changes in the British Empire witnessed under her rule, including advances in the industrial revolution due to the power of steam and the invention of the telephone and penny-farthing bicycle.
The 75th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings £2
On 6th June 1944 the largest seaborne invasion in history took place. The operation began the liberation of German occupied France during World War II, and D-Day, as it came to be known, laid the foundations of the Allied victory on the Western Front. This £2 coin has been issued to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Normandy Landings and its success which paved the way for the surrender of Nazi Germany. The coin features the 5 beaches codenamed Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword, where the invasion took place.
The 350th Anniversary of Samuel Pepys’ Last Diary Entry £2
Samuel Pepys is recognised as the most famous diarist who ever lived, providing valuable first-hand accounts of life in 17th century London and the English Restoration period. His private diary, which he kept from 1660-1669, also provides important eyewitness accounts of landmark events in British history, including the Great Plague of London and the Great Fire of London. This £2 coin has been issued to mark 350 years since Pepys’ last diary entry and features one of his famous diary excerpts written in shorthand.
The 260th Anniversary of the Formation of Wedgwood £2
After Josiah Wedgwood founded the company in 1759, Wedgwood quickly became a pioneer for British pottery, taking it from a craft to an international industry. Largely taking inspiration from ancient cultures and mythologies the company was responsible for creating the ceramic bodies Queen’s Ware (1762), Black Basalt (1768) and Jasper Ware (1774) which remain famous today. This £2 coin has been specially designed by the Wedgwood designers to celebrate 260 years since the establishment of the company.
The 160th Anniversary of the Birth of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 50p
The prolific writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is best known for his incredibly popular detective stories featuring the fictional Sherlock Holmes. It is said his works revolutionised the crime genre, and despite Doyle sharing an ambivalent relationship with his famous character, Holmes appeared in 4 novels and 56 short stories, resulting in Doyle becoming one of the best-paid authors of the time. This 50p coin has been issued to mark 160 years since the renowned author’s birth, and features his iconic character Sherlock Holmes.
All of these designs are stunning and there’s no doubt that these coins will only become more desirable in the years to come.
Let us know in the comments which coin is your favourite!
If you’re interested…
You can secure the brand new 2019 coins in the Brilliant Uncirculated coin pack.
Each coin has been struck to a superior Brilliant Uncirculated finish and is ready to display in an informative presentation pack. This pack features the definitive circulating coins and 5 new commemorative coins issued for 2019.
One of the things I find most interesting when collecting historic coins is the insight they give into the time they were struck and of the monarch who issued them.
A particular reign that has always fascinated collectors is that of Queen Victoria. During Victoria’s long reign only three major obverse portraits adorned her coins and they come together to chart the life and reign of one of Britain’s most popular monarchs.
The Young Head
The first effigy to feature on Queen Victoria’s coinage is known as the ‘Young Head’ portrait. This early portrait shows Victoria at the tender age of just 18, when she acceded to the throne.
The public in the early 19th century would not have been aware that the youthful Victoria depicted on their coins would soon become the leader of the largest Empire the world had ever seen and would reign longer than any British monarch before her.
The ‘Young Head’ portrait was extremely popular with the general public and remained on Victoria’s coins with only minor alterations for the majority of her reign.
The Jubilee Head
After 60 years however, it was decided that a new portrait was necessary to reflect Victoria as the elder stateswoman she had become. Victoria’s Golden Jubilee marked the occasion for a design change and Joseph Edgar Boehm was chosen to design a portrait for the 78 year old Queen.
However, Boehm’s portrait failed to gain the public’s admiration in the way its predecessor had. The portrait was met with ridicule by the general public who found the small crown balanced precariously on her head as unrealistic and almost comical.
The Veiled Head
The ‘Jubilee’ portrait was quickly replaced in 1893 after only six years, with what was to be the final obverse used on Victoria’s coinage. This new effigy was designed by Thomas Brock and shows a mature bust of the Queen with a veil representing her long period of mourning after the death of her husband Prince Albert.
Victoria was deeply attached to her husband and she sank into depression after his death. For the rest of her reign she wore black and the final portrait of the highly respected Queen represents this secluded period of mourning that came towards the end of her life.
Together, these coin portraits tell the story of Queen Victoria, with each marking an important period from her long reign. All of these coins are now over 100 years old and for me they epitomise Victorian coin collecting.
If you’re interested…
Today you have the opportunity to own each of these key portraits in the Queen Victoria Half Crown Set. However, these historic coins are very difficult to source and we only have a limited number available.
Click here for more details >>