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V25 2022 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 25, Number 23, June 5, 2022, Article 27

THE GOTHIC CROWN

Allan Davisson published this article on the Gothic Crown in an email to customers on June 1, 2022. With permission, we're republishing it here. -Editor

  The Gothic Crown
The Royal Mint struck them with great care

E-Auction 43 closes on Wednesday, June 8th 2022! Read on for a brief history of the dramatic Gothic crown (lot 137).

A trip to a bank outlet in mid-1847 must have been a popular adventure for many British citizens. A dramatic new silver coin, struck to proof standards, was available. And the people who got them seem to have set them aside and cared for them. Very few show up worn. At the same time, very few show up with the same pristine surfaces they had when they came from the Mint. Over the years I have handled many and seen many and the great majority of them show signs of the kind of care a diligent owner took with the family silver. They wiped off any bits of dust and dirt and detritus that showed up on the surface assuming that this was the proper way to care for this marvelous bit of medallic art. And so, now many of the examples of this beautiful piece show what 21st century collectors call hairlines in the obverse fields.

The Royal Mint minted them with great care—double-struck so that all the fine details in the design would be bold and clear on the finished piece. Then the 8000 proof crowns were each placed in an envelope and delivered to the Bank of England. And in July 1847 the public was able to get an example of a silver crown generally acknowledged to be among the most beautiful coins ever struck.

It is called the Gothic crown because in the middle of the 19th century a period that came to be known as Gothic Revival was a particularly influential style in the arts and architecture. And one of the greatest medal designer/engravers in English history, William Wyon, was a fan of this ornate architecture. The young queen, not yet 30 years old, had been queen for ten years when this pattern coin was issued. Wyon designed this elegant coin with Gothic script around a crowned bust of Victoria wearing a richly ornamented bodice and a hair braid that has come to be a symbol that still persists as a particularly recognizable part of her image.

The reverse was designed by one of the prominent painters of the era, William Dyce. Wyon and Dyce may well have cooperated on the reverse design with its display of the arms of England, Scotland and Ireland in a cross-shaped pattern. Wyon did take credit for the die, placing his initials on the sides of the top crown on the reverse. The angles of the cross are filled with a shamrock, a thistle, and two roses. Like the obverse, the lettering is all Gothic type. The text translates as May God guard these United (Kingdoms) followed by the date, either mdcccxlvi or mdcccxlvii.

For more information on the sale, see:
https://davcoin.com/

Guth E-Sylum ad02 Detective Agency



Wayne Homren, Editor

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