Victoria (1837-1901), Jubilee Proof set, 1887, comprising of Five and Two Pounds, Sovereign and Half-Sovereign, Crown to Threepence, eleven coins (PS. 5). A superb set, as struck with only the minutest of hairlines in official leather case of issue.
The longer Victoria reigned, the more she became the embodiment of the majesty of Great Britain and the Empire on which the sun would never set. The Golden Jubilee of 1887 was an occasion for sumptuous pageantry. It was celebrated on 20th June 1887 on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of Queen Victoria’s accession on 20 June 1837. It was marked with a banquet to which 50 European kings and princes were invited, along with the governing heads of Britain’s overseas colonies and dominions. On the day of the celebrations the Queen had breakfast outdoors under the trees at Frogmore, where her beloved consort Prince Albert had been buried. She then travelled by train from Windsor Station to Paddington, and then to Buckingham Palace for the special banquet later that day. The following day she travelled in an open carriage to Westminster Abbey, escorted by colonial Indian cavalry. During prayers for the Queen at the Abbey a beam of sunlight fell upon her bowed head, which the future Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii noted as a mark of ‘divine favour!’ On her return to the Palace, Victoria appeared on the balcony and was cheered by the crowd. In the 5 decades since the death of William IV, Victoria had established the monarchy as a grand British institution for the foreseeable future, by her strong devotion to duty, and a feeling for the pulse of the country which more often than not was accurate. Against this background, the Mint issued a small number of sets of gold and silver Proof coins in 1887, the first such collection produced since the 1853 (Sovereign to half farthing) collection. There were 11 coins in the 1887 set, the Two Pound piece made its first appearance in 56 years, and the silver Double Florin was seen for the first time! The superb obverse portrait of Victoria was designed by the internationally acclaimed engraver Joseph Edgar Boehm (1834-1890), and his initials J.E.B. appear on the truncation of each specimen. The silver coins in this collection have a wonderful and matching steel blue tone and are practically blemish free. The gold coins have highly frosted designs, with a mirror-like proof fields. Each piece is of a virtually flawless quality.