1855 Gold Sovereign Victoria Young Head Shield
In 1855, there were two varieties of shield sovereigns, both types are of the second portrait, issued from 1848 to 1872, with a few gaps, has a slightly larger head, in lower relief, and the reverse legends are repositioned.
The difference between the two types is in the engraver's signature, WW, which is raised on the first 1855 type, and incuse on the second 1855 type.
All 1855 sovereigns are therefore London Mint, second portrait, shield reverse, with no die number.
Raised and Incuse WW Initials - A Marsh Anomaly
Until we came to show the Michael A Marsh reference numbers in the listings on this page, we had not realised for some reason that Michael Marsh's book "The Gold Sovereign" only makes passing reference to the fact that some sovereigns in this series have the engraver's initials WW on the truncation of Queen Victoria's neck incuse rather than raised. Spink show these as a separate and distinct variety.
All shield sovereigns from 1838 to 1852 have raised initials, all first type shields from 1856 to 1863 have incuse (cut-in) initials, while the three dates from 1853 to 1855 occur in both varieties.
We cannot think why Michael treated both varieties as the same. He states in both the 1980 and 2002 Golden Jubilee editions "These letters also appear incuse on some coins". Michael quite rightly went into great detail on a number of other coins, such as the 1856 Ansell variety which has an almost unnoticeable double ribbon line. Compared with the Ansell, we believe that the incuse WW initial are important enough to be recognised as a distinct and separate sub-type.
I had the pleasure and good fortune to have a lengthy telephone conversation with Michael about 6 months before his death. He expressed an intention to publish an updated version of The Gold Sovereign, incorporating research he had done since the publication of the Golden Jubilee edition, and also some material which, although known at the time of publication, he did not feel he had researched sufficiently for publication. He explained that he had not been in the best of health, and was hoping to be able to continue before too long. During the conversation, I formed an intention to try to find time to visit him to discuss sovereigns, and I offered him the use of one of our photographs for the next edition. Sadly none of this came to pass.
Gold Sovereigns - Victoria Young Head Shield Reverse
London Mint Only.
The following list of sovereigns is for coins in stock as at our last update of this page.
It is best to check prices and availability before ordering or give alternatives.
The US $ prices in the this table may be out of date due to currency fluctuations.
Date||Description||Marsh||Spink||Mintage||Grade||Stock||Price £||Price $
1855||Raised WW||38*||3852C||8,448,482*||good Fine||Sold||£120||$160
1855||Second Head||38*|| ||8,448,482*||good VF / almost EF||Sold||£160||$250
1855||Second Head||38*|| ||8,448,482*||VF / good VF||Sold||£140||$190
1855||WW Incuse||38*||3852D||8,448,482*||good Fine||Sold||£115||$155
Key To Table
38* = Marsh does not distinguish between the two varieties.
8,448,482* = Includes both varieties.
Please see our die numbers page for more information about die numbers.
If you are not looking for a particular date, but want a nice example of this type of sovereign, you can order a "type coin". Just look at our list of dates, grades and prices. Select the price you wish to pay, and we will send you the best grade coin we have available for that price, with our choice of date.
We Buy Gold Sovereigns
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Victoria Type Collection