1891 Jubilee Head Gold Sovereign London Mint Short Tailed Horse
There is a rare variety of the 1891 London mint Victoria jubilee head sovereign with a short tailed horse.
Essentially this is the same reverse as used from 1887 to 1890. In 1891 and 1892, the reverse was changed, and the main point of difference being that the horse has a longer tail.
Not only is the tail longer, but the strands of it are arranged differently.
Compare with 1891 Normal Type Sovereign
It's probably best to open this in a new browser window to make it easier to compare.
1891 Short Tail
The 1891 short tail variety was first mentioned in Spink' Standard Catalogue* in the 2005 edition, and up to this point was not mentioned in Michael Marsh's "The Gold Sovereign", which has, for a long time, been considered as the standard work on modern (from 1817), gold sovereigns.
We discovered the near mint example, shown in our photographs, in early 2005. We telephoned Michael, and had a long conversation with him. Apparently he had known about the short tail variety before publication of the 2002 Golden Jubilee edition of his book, but had not felt that he had done enough research to include it in that edition. At the time, Michael mentioned that he had not been well, and this had delayed work on his anticipated new edition, which would have also included the new 2005 reverse. Sadly, he did not recover from his illness and has now died.
We offered to supply photographs of our specimen, which we believe may be the best condition specimen in existence.
During our conversation, he stated that about six pieces were known, but we agreed that more may come to light. Indeed we have, ourselves, found about another 4 or 5 pieces since then, all in lower grades, from Fine to VF.
While checking Marsh in July 2007, we noticed that he appears not to have included any information about the reverse design change between 1890 and 1892; there is simply nothing about it in his book. This seems like a strange omission, as the difference has been known for quite a long time. The differences are shown in the 1995 Seaby Standard Catalogue*, but not in th 1993 edition; as we do not have a 1994 immediately to hand, we cannot check that it at the moment. It certainly was known before the second edition of March in 1999. Obviously we cannot ask the man himself, as he is no longer around.
Gold Sovereigns - Victoria Jubilee Head
Please contact us prior to ordering for current prices and availability.
|Date||Mint||Marsh||Spink||Mintage||Grade||Stock||Price £||Price $
1891||L||Unlisted||3866B||6,329,476||about Unc, as shown||Sold||£5,000||$10,500
Key To Mintmarks
L = London, no mintmark.
M = Melbourne, Australia
P = Perth, Australia
S = Sydney, Australia
SA = Pretoria, South Africa
Where we do not specify a mint mark, we are offering an unspecified mint of our choice.
We Buy Gold Sovereigns
* Spink acquired the publishing rights to Seaby's Standard Catalogue of British Coins* sometime before 1999, and consequently it is now known as Spink's Standard Catalogue of British Coins.
* The mintage figure shown is for the total mintage of London Mint sovereigns for the year 1891. It is not known how many of these were of the short tail horse variety.
Victoria Jubilee Head
First and Second Type Jubilee Head Reverse Comparisons
Short and long tail reverses compared.