Saint Helena is a small island in the South Atlantic Ocean which is part of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. The currency of the island is the Saint Helena pound, fixed at parity with the pound sterling. The island has authorised some private mints to issue coins under its jurisdiction, which come in a variety of sizes - including in the popular gold ounce (1 oz gold) format, denominated as £5.
The Mint says about this coin:
Queen Victoria was William Wyon’s most famous subject, and it seems the Queen appreciated his work, telling Wyon that “you always represent me favourably”. When a new portrait was commissioned to celebrate the tenth Anniversary of Victoria’s coronation in 1847, William Wyon, as Chief Engraver of The Royal Mint and with royal approval on his side, was the natural choice. In a break from his previous Neoclassical style, Wyon’s new portrait was influenced by the Gothic Revival of the mid 19th Century.
The 1847 "Gothic Crown" was a work of art, created in a popular new style, issued as a very limited edition of just 8,000 pieces, making it highly coveted by collectors but usually beyond the reach and means of all but a fortunate few. The East India Company is delighted to make it available to the modern collector, faithfully remastered for this 2022 Masterpiece Collection limited-edition Gold Proof 1oz Coin using the human touch of expert hand craftsmanship and the precision of modern minting technology.
Our third coin release of The East India Company Masterpiece Collection originally designed by the famous English engraver William Wyon in partnership with William Dyce highlights the designs in exquisite detail.
William Wyon is regarded as one of history’s great coin designers, his early work synonymous with the Neoclassical, which looked to ancient Greece and Rome for its stylistic cues. So, his design for the 1817 Crown was something of a change of direction, a work of Neo-Gothic art influenced by medieval aesthetics. This can be seen in the original coin, Queen Victoria wearing the St Edward’s Crown that had been worn at royal coronations since the 13th Century, the fashionable long looped plait in Victoria’s hair, and the edge inscription which is engraved in the "Blackletter" style popular in carvings and literature from the Middle Ages, Maybe Wyon’s studies of medieval poetry for his 1839 "Una and the Lion" design had set him on this path, or perhaps it was the Gothic Revival architecture of the new Palace of Westminster being built just along the Thames from his desk at The Royal Mint. Whatever it was that influenced him, the 1847 Crown represents another landmark in William Wyon’s remarkable career.
The obverse of the coin depicts the crowned old head of Queen Elizabeth II facing right, wearing the Royal Diamond Diadem crown and the Victoria Coronation necklace worn for her Coronation. This is her effigy known as the "Fifth Portrait" worldwide and "Sixth Portrait" in Australia, in "uncouped" version - showing the Queen's shoulders and not terminating at the neck as the normal version.
On the left, in small letters on the Queen's shoulder, the artist's initials J.C (for Jody Clark).
Running continuously around the rim is the monarch's legend and the face value: ELIZABETH II · D · G · REGINA · F · D · ST. HELENA · FIVE POUNDS ·. Translated from Latin: Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen, Defender of the Faith, Saint Helena.
Within a decorated border, the reverse design represents the three nations brought together by the Act of Union in 1801 and depicts a crowned cruciform (in a cross pattern) shields bearing the three lions passant of England (twice, in positions 1 and 3), the lion rampant of Scotland (2), and the harp of Ireland (4). The shields are contained within a deeply tressured circular panel. In the angles are two roses, a shamrock and a thistle - the national plants of England, Scotland and Ireland respectively. In the centre there is a four-leafed flower.
At centre, a small flag of the Union (commonly known as The Union Jack), surrounded by the Order of the Garter inscribed with its motto HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE (translated from Old French: May he be shamed who thinks badly of it).
Around above, interrupted by St Edward's crown on top of the English shield, the inscription tueatur unita deus - May God guard these United (Kingdoms). Around below, also interrupted by the crown, the date of issue in Latin: anno dom mmxxi - abbreviated from Anno domini MMXXII - Year of Our Lord 2022. As on the obverse, all the lettering is in ornate Gothic style.
Next to the date, the EIC mint mark of the East India Company; the letters are separated by arrows radiating from the centre around which they are situated.