1880 Gold Sovereign « Victoria DEI GRATIA » with St George Back.

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The sovereign 1880 is a British gold coin minted under the reign of Queen Victoria at the colonial Australian branch mints in Melbourne and Sydney. The 1880 Queen Victoria “Young Head” with St George Back Gold Sovereigns, (originally a circulating coin, now a bullion coin) are now VAT free in UK and provided they were minted after 1817 and a legal tender coin, free from Capital Gains Tax for UK residents. They also are VAT free in European Union, the sovereigns meeting the criteria established in Article 344(1), point (2) of Council Directive 2006/112/EC of 28 November 2006 (special scheme for investment gold). The 1880 Young Head sovereign were minted with 2 different reverses: Shield and St. George.

MintmarkMintMintage
London3,650,080
MMelbourne, Australia3,053,454
SSydney, Australia1,459,000
 Total8.162.534
for both St George and Shield
Diameter (mm)Weight (gr)Thickness (mm)
22,05 mmGross weight: 7,99 Gr
Fine Gold: 7,32 Gr – 0.2354 troy ounce.
1,52 mm
Edge and Orientation.Millesimal fineness.Composition.
➣ Reeded / Milled
➣ Medal alignment ↑
22 carats; 917 ‰91.67% gold and 8.33% Copper.
Mint and MintmarkFinancial FeaturesMintage.
« The Royal Mint » London and Australia mints.Type: bullion coin.
Production Years: 1817–present.
Legal tender in the United Kingdom, value £1 = 20 shillings.
1880 with 8.162.534 bullion coins.
Specifications for the Gold Sovereign 1880.
Reverse: Portrait by William Wyon. Matte background with matte bust of queen Victoria facing left. VICTORIA D:G: BRITANNIAR REG: FID:DEF:” Translated from Latin: Victoria by the Grace of God King of the Britons, Defender of the Faith.)
Obverse:Benedetto Pistrucci‘s St George on horseback slaying the dragon right; 1880 and B.P. in exergue inscribed at the bottom.

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A relatively flat design allows the young head obverse to show little wear. The mains point to check for strike & wear are :

  • The hair juste on the double ribbon,
  • The hair above the ear,
  • The knotted bun area,
  • The peaks of the eyebrow,
  • As always, the rims and fields.


When collectors examine a sovereign with the St George reverse, there are a certain number of points which are examined closely for strike & wear. From top to bottom, they are:

  • The crest of St George’s helmet;
  • St George’s chest, together with the strap & pin fastening his cloak;
  • The bridle as it crosses the horse’s neck;
  • The muscle separation in St George’s upper thigh;
  • The horse’s forequarters & rump;
  • The “bloodline” in the sword;
  • The upper band across St George’s boot;
  • The dragon’s torso below it’s neck.

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