1871 Gold Sovereign « Victoria DEI GRATIA » with St George Back.

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The sovereign 1871 is a British gold coin minted under the reign of Queen Victoria in London, also struck at the colonial Australian branch mints in Melbourne and Sydney. Almost 11 million gold sovereign coins were struck this year. The 1871 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 1871 Young Head sovereign were also minted the Shield reverses.

Mint markMintMintage
LLondon8,767,250
SSydney, Australia2,814,000*
 Total11,581,250*


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 Sydney mints.Type: bullion coin.
Production Years: 1817–present.
Legal tender in the United Kingdom, value £1 = 20 shillings.
1871 with 11,581,250 bullion coins.
Specifications for the Gold Sovereign 1871
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; 1871 and B.P. in exergue inscribed at the bottom.

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 its neck.


1871 Gold Sovereign Sydney Mint, Australia

These are the first Imperial sovereigns to be struck at a branch mint outside of Britain.
Legislation for the establishment of a branch of the London Royal Mint in Sydney was announced in August 1853 – much to the disappointment of the Legislative Councils of Victoria and South Australia who also applied for the honor of having Australia’s third – but first official – mint.
Established in a wing of the old Rum Hospital, the mint opened on May 14, 1855. The obverse was only slightly different to that used on British minted sovereigns and half sovereigns; the reverse was uniquely Australian. In 1870 it was decided to abolish the distinctive designs as London was determined to have a simplified monetary system between itself and its ever-expanding colonies. Thus in 1871 the standard British types were adopted instead. It was Britain’s intention to issue sovereigns of both types. It allowed the branch mints to decide which, and how much of the two designs to strike.

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