Victoria (1837-1901), Proof Gothic Crown, 1847, engraved by William Wyon, crowned gothic style bust left, small ww on truncation, trefoil and arc border, legend in gothic lower case font reads “VICTORIA DEI GRATIA BRITANNIAR REG FD. Crowned cruciform shields, emblems in angles, garter star at centre, w – w incuse either side of the top crown, date in roman numerals in lower right of script, legend surrounds from upper left quarter as TUEATUR UNITA DEUS ANNO DOM MDCCCXLVII, edge inscription “DECUS ET TUTAMEN ANNO REGNI UNDECIMO (S.3883; ESC. 288; Bull 2571; L&S 57).
Toned, retaining much of its mirrored fields, a few light surface marks and minimal nicks. Extremely fine, on good metal, with a mintage of 8,000, scarce.
The Gothic Crowns issued both in 1847 and 1853 are venerated types within British numismatics due to a timeless and iconic design. The work of William Wyon (of Una and the Lion fame) both dates are still consistently sought out by collectors, in various grades and edge variations. The 1847 Undecimo edge is considered a key if not essential type for the discerning Crown collector, the ever evasive 1853 SEPTIMO edge only issued as part of a wider proof set, is naturally more difficult to source. The Gothic Crowns were all struck as proof issues, H. G. Stride of the Royal mint is on the proverbial record as stating they were never issued for ordinary circulation, all were struck in proof state and the earlier types that appeared with an overtly frosted design were indeed earlier strikings.
The Gothic style portraits, in a sense evoke and epitomise the wider cultural idea or concept of ‘Victoriana.’ The way in which the ornate bust, calligraphy lower case legends and hugely elaborate reverse reflect a fine yet regal balance of quality, precision and beauty; all of which are framed and executed within industrial age accuracy. The Gothic style portrait is visible in various denominations and types, albeit in modifed guises; gothic florins of the same era have also always had a solid following and in the British India series we also see equivalent renditions of the motif in Rupees and half Rupees (cf., Victoria Restrike Proof Mohur of 1878, Baldwin’s Auctions 69, 3rd of May 2011, lot 978 for a chapter and verse example).
Linecar & Stone ‘English Proof and Pattern Crown Size Pieces’ pp 88, for the H. G. Stride quote