Historic Gold 1897 Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Medal

This week’s featured coin is in fact a medal produced during the reign of Great Britain’s longest ruling monarch, Queen Victoria. In 1897 the queen and the nation celebrated her sixtieth year on the throne with a Diamond Jubilee, an occasion which was not repeated until earlier this year for the sixtieth year of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. To commemorate this landmark event many medals were struck, but one of the largest and grandest was designed by G.W. De Saulles. The medal was struck by the Royal Mint and distributed through the Banks of England, Scotland and Ireland. The design of the medal utilized two familiar effigies of Victoria — for the obverse the veiled or “Mourning” bust created by Thomas Brock after the death of Prince consort Albert and for the reverse the “Young Head” bust of her early reign by William Wyon. The medal was produced in two sizes (55 & 26 mm) as well as being struck in gold, silver and copper. During the minting process it was found that the design made for a more difficult striking than was originally anticipated. The medal does not feature any kind of raised rim and so between strikes the edge of each piece would have to be trimmed and smoothed. While this may not sound like too big of a setback, consider that on average the gold medals required six strikes apiece with the silver and copper requiring about four strikes. Then consider that over 70,000 of the large size medals were produced and you see how this could lead to a considerable delay.

We are excited to present one of these historic medals in our upcoming November Baltimore auction. More exciting still is the fact that the medal we present is from the lowest mintage variety of the series, the large size gold issue, with mint reports from 1898 citing 3,725 pieces produced. As icing for this cake, the medal is still in the original red leather case of issue which is well preserved with the royal crown and the dates 1837-1897 still clearly stamped in gold. The medal itself is lovely to behold; the obverse shows almost no signs of handling with only two faint hairlines in the left field. The reverse shows a bit more evidence of being looked at with some fine hairlines at radial angles, probably from being taken in and out of the case. Overall it is a beautifully executed piece combining two already pleasing effigies into one outstanding commemorative. This medal along with the rest of our November Baltimore World Sale, is ready to be viewed and is open to bidding on our website, Live viewing for our auction will be commencing later this month and we invite those interested to contact our office for details.

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