3 - The Queen Victoria Shield Reverse Sovereign : 1841-43

Before we go on to the jewel in the series of standard struck coins a quick word about 1840, no point looking for these because they do not exist absolutely none were produced in this year. 1841 with a mintage figure of a tiny 124,054 is without doubt the most sought after standard London struck Victorian sovereign not only within the shield series but the entire era. Even this tiny mintage figure does not stop us from meeting our 1st true variety of the series. Arguably the more coin common example type for 1841 is the Unbarred A's found in GRATIA (Marsh No24A), with what should be the standard coin with the correct Barred 'A's' (Marsh No24) being the more seldom seen with a ratio or maybe as much as 2-1. With that said this is a very rare sovereign in either guise, and I wouldn't worry too much about this as the value here is all in the grade itself. As for values we can work backwards, the only known example of a 1841 in something close to truly uncirculated sold at a Bonham's auction in 2011 for £35,000 plus buyers premium, we must now be talking @£50,000. As for lesser examples a few do exist in grades approaching Extremely Fine, for these I would suggest £25,000 as a ball park figure, with the more normally seen Fair- Fine examples @£10,000.            

GRATIA with correct barred 'A's

The Unbarred 'A's seen in 1841/2

1842 (Marsh No25) heralds the introduction of the more affordable Victorian era for many with standard year type available to the collector from @£400-£600 for a Good Fine or NVF example. It should be remembered that very high grade examples of @EF and above of any 1840s sovereign will set the collector back at least double that of the much more available lower grades. They are simply much more difficult to find and we seldom see any truly @UNC examples, so £1000-£2000 is quite a realistic price to pay for true top examples.

The standard issue 1842 sovereign appears with a Closed '2' in date, however not originally listed by Marsh (No25A in revised edition) the much rarer Open '2' in date also exists  My records place the ratio at possibly 20:1 in favour of the closed '2', examples of EF and above must be considered as extremely rare, and at least double that of the standard issue value in similar grade. It must be stressed that the famous Bentley collection only contained one of these in Very Fine grade and previously cleaned. 

The Very Rare 1842 Open '2' in date

The standard 1842 Closed '2' in date

The only other variety documented for 1842 sees the reappearance of the unbarred 'A' in GRATIA as shown above in our 1841 example. Originally documented as an inverted 'V' it is now believed simply to be the letter 'A' struck with a weak die. If anything the unbarred variety is the more commonly seen coin, but value wise they vary only slightly from the standard issue sovereign with its complete 'A'.

1843 introduces a new theme that of the Roman I type sovereign (Revised Marsh No26C), so called because the first digit of the date somehow managed to become the letter ‘I’ instead of the correct numeral digit ‘1’. This type appears right up until the introduction of the die type coin in 1863. However not all Roman I's are actually what they seem many of those documented are the digit '1' initially struck up side down and then corrected with another '1' struck in the correct orientation, giving the impression of a the letter 'I'. A close look at the images below show how to tell these apart. One can only assume it took the mint 20yrs to discover that one of their date numerals was actually a letter and not a digit. You can expect to pay from @£600 for a Good Fine example of any of the Roman I type coins with better grades Very Fine - Good Very Fine being @£1000 @£1500.

A true Roman 'I' in place of Arabic '1'

Arabic '1' struck over inverted '1'


Queen Victoria (1837-1901) - Part 1

Queen Victoria (1838-1839) - Part 2

Queen Victoria (1843-1845) - Part 4

Queen Victoria (1846-1849) - Part 5

Queen Victoria (1850-1854) - Part 6

Queen Victoria (1855-1859) - Part 7

Queen Victoria (1860-1863) - Part 8

Queen Victoria (1863-1874) - Part 9

Queen Victoria (1871-1887 Mel/Syd) - Part 10

Queen Victoria (1871-1887 St George Lon) - Part 11

Queen Victoria (1871-1887 St George Mel/Syd) - Part 12

Queen Victoria (1887-1893 Jubilee) - Part 13

Queen Victoria (1893-1901 Widow) - Part 14

Return to - Knowledge Base Home