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Detailed information about Coin: Half Sovereign 1880 from United Kingdom

Coin: Half Sovereign 1880
Description

A gold coin (19 mm diameter with milled edge) featuring a young head of Queen Victoria facing left, hair filleted; around, VICTORIA DEI GRATIA, below, 1880. On the reverse, a garnished shield, crowned and lined, around, BRITANNIARUM REGINA FID:DEF:.

CountryUnited Kingdom CurrencyPound Sterling (pre-decimal)
Face value1/2 (x Pound) TypeHalf Sovereign (Pre-decimal, Shield)
Year1880 CurrentNo (demonetised 1971)
Mintage1,089,049 (1.1 million)
Mints
NameMint markMintage
Royal Mint London No mint mark 1,009,049 (1.0 million), Rarity: R (Rare)
Sydney Mint Letter S 80,000 (80000), Rarity: S (Scarce)
Material0.9167 Gold DesignerJean Baptiste Merlen
MonarchQueen Victoria EffigyPortrait by William Wyon (Young Head)
Production technologyMilled (machine-made) ShapeRound
Size (mm)19.3000 Thickness (mm)0.9900
Mass (g)3.9940
Obverse

Young head of Queen Victoria facing left, hair filleted; around, VICTORIA DEI GRATIA, below, 1880.

London coins with die number carry Obverse 4 by Marsh (1876 - 1880): Again the bust is increased in size as compared to earlier coins, causing the bun in the Queen's hair to almost touch the G in GRATIA and this time the wider front ribbon on the top of the head is replaced by one that matches the others in size.

London coins without die number have Obverse 5 by Marsh: it has a lower relief and the largest bust of all varieties of the Young Head portrait. Because of this, the bun in the Queen's hair is clearly inside the legend area. The lower point of the neck truncation is in a similar position and touches the date. Thickening of the rim and toothing is also evident, which (coupled with the larger bust) gives an overall cramped impression.

Most Sydney Mint coins are of type S-3862E (Fifth young head obverse. On reverse, the cross of the crown is buried in the border; legend and rosettes very close to heavy border. Some Sydney Mint coins are of the earlier type, S-3862D (Fifth young head obverse, in low relief, wider truncation, no front year lobe).

No designer's initials W.W. at the truncation of the Queen's neck (unlike on full sovereigns).

Obverse inscription VICTORIA DEI GRATIA 1880
Reverse

Crowned and garnished shield quartered with the arms of England (1 & 4), Scotland (2) and Ireland (3); around, BRITANNIARUM REGINA FID: DEF:.

A small dot is shown just above the centre of the crossed lines that divide the Ensigns Armorial (unlike coins before 1859).

Below the shield is either the mint mark (if any) or the die number (if any; for coins minted in London). London coins may or may not have die number and have no mint mark; Sydney coins have mint mark and no die number.

Known die numbers (as per Marsh 1982): 3, 75, 78, 103, 104, 108, 110, 111, 114, 115, 118, 119, 121, 123, 124, 125, 129, 131.

Coins without die number have rim and tooth thickening on the reverse as well as on the obverse, so the top of the crown actually encroaches under the toothing.

Reverse inscriptionBRITANNIARUM REGINA FID: DEF:
EdgeMilled Edge inscriptionNone
Notes

The "ordinary" Royal Mint London coins for this year are listed in some catalogues as those with no die number; however, these are rare and the "variety" with a die number has a larger mintage so its rarity is "normal".

The "ordinary" Sydney Mint coins for this year are taken to be S-3862E (or McD 20a).

References to additional information:

[Book] Marsh, Michael A. The Gold Half Sovereign. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Coins, 1982. pp. 13-40.

Half Sovereign 1880: Known varieties
VarietyMintageDetails
Cross not in border (Sydney Mint) S-3862D unknown (included in main number) (hover mouse for text)
Die number on reverse (Royal Mint London) S-3860F unknown (included in main number), Rarity: N (Normal) (hover mouse for text)
Proof (Sydney Mint) unknown, Rarity: R3 (Extremely Rare) (hover mouse for text)
Half Sovereign 1880: Catalogue Reference IDs
SourceReference ID
Marsh, The Gold Half Sovereign455 (London, die number), 456 (No die number)
Friedberg, Gold Coins of the WorldGreat Britain 246 (Royal Mint London)
Krause, Standard Catalog of World CoinsGreat Britain KM# 735.1 (Royal Mint London)
Krause, Standard Catalog of World CoinsGreat Britain KM# 735.2 (Die number on reverse)
Spink, Coins of England and the United Kingdom3861 (London, No die number), 3860F (Die number)
Marsh, The Gold Half Sovereign464 (Sydney Mint)
Friedberg, Gold Coins of the WorldAustralia 13 (Sydney Mint)
Krause, Standard Catalog of World CoinsAustralia KM# 5 (Sydney Mint)
Spink, Coins of England and the United Kingdom3862E, 3862D (Sydney Mint)
McDonald, Australian Coins and BanknotesMcD 020a (Sydney Mint), McD 020a (variety A)
Renniks, Australian Coin and Banknote ValuesH19 (Sydney Mint)
Half Sovereign 1880: References to Information Used
SourceEditionAboutLinkNotes
Marsh, The Gold Half Sovereign 1982 Coin description
Remick, Catalogue of British Commonwealth Coins 1971 Mint Royal Mint London
Renniks, Australian Coin and Banknote Values 1965 Mint Sydney Mint
Remick, Catalogue of British Commonwealth Coins 1971 Mintage Royal Mint mintage
Renniks, Australian Coin and Banknote Values 1965 Mintage Sydney Mint mintage
Remick, Catalogue of British Commonwealth Coins 1971 Varieties Proof (Sydney Mint)
McDonald, Australian Coins and Banknotes Varieties Greg McDonald Ref. 020 (variety A)
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Half Sovereign 1880: Links to sites that (may) sell similar coins
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List of all (100) coins of type: United Kingdom / Half Sovereign (Pre-decimal)
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Half Sovereign 1825 Half Sovereign 1826 Half Sovereign 1827 Half Sovereign 1828 Half Sovereign 1831 (Proof only) Half Sovereign 1834
Half Sovereign 1835 Half Sovereign 1836 Half Sovereign 1837 Half Sovereign 1838 Half Sovereign 1839 (Proof only) Half Sovereign 1841
Half Sovereign 1842 Half Sovereign 1843 Half Sovereign 1844 Half Sovereign 1845 Half Sovereign 1846 Half Sovereign 1847
Half Sovereign 1848 Half Sovereign 1849 Half Sovereign 1850 Half Sovereign 1851 Half Sovereign 1852 Half Sovereign 1853
Half Sovereign 1854 Half Sovereign 1855 Half Sovereign 1856 Half Sovereign 1857 Half Sovereign 1858 Half Sovereign 1859
Half Sovereign 1860 Half Sovereign 1861 Half Sovereign 1862 Half Sovereign 1863 Half Sovereign 1864 Half Sovereign 1865
Half Sovereign 1866 Half Sovereign 1867 Half Sovereign 1869 Half Sovereign 1870 Half Sovereign 1871 Half Sovereign 1872
Half Sovereign 1873 Half Sovereign 1874 Half Sovereign 1875 Half Sovereign 1876 Half Sovereign 1877 Half Sovereign 1878
Half Sovereign 1879 Half Sovereign 1880 Half Sovereign 1881 Half Sovereign 1882 Half Sovereign 1883 Half Sovereign 1884
Half Sovereign 1885 Half Sovereign 1886 Half Sovereign 1887 Young head Half Sovereign 1887 Jubilee head Half Sovereign 1888 (Proof only) Half Sovereign 1889
Half Sovereign 1890 Half Sovereign 1891 Half Sovereign 1892 Half Sovereign 1893 Shield Half Sovereign 1893 St George Half Sovereign 1894
Half Sovereign 1895 Half Sovereign 1896 Half Sovereign 1897 Half Sovereign 1898 Half Sovereign 1899 Half Sovereign 1900
Half Sovereign 1901 Half Sovereign 1902 Half Sovereign 1903 Half Sovereign 1904 Half Sovereign 1905 Half Sovereign 1906
Half Sovereign 1907 Half Sovereign 1908 Half Sovereign 1909 Half Sovereign 1910 Half Sovereign 1911 Half Sovereign 1912
Half Sovereign 1913 Half Sovereign 1914 Half Sovereign 1915 Half Sovereign 1916 Half Sovereign 1918 Half Sovereign 1923 (Proof only)
Half Sovereign 1925 Half Sovereign 1926 Half Sovereign 1937 (Proof only) Half Sovereign 1953 (not released)