Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. On 1 May 1876, she adopted the additional title of Empress of India. Known as the Victorian Era her reign spanned some 63 years and seven months. It was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire and with it produced some of the most iconic and sort after coins to date.
Victoria reigned for 63 years and naturally as her appearance changed so came a time to update the effigy on the obverse of her coins. There were 4 main engravers who were appointed to do the job. In the early years it was the job of William Wyon he (WW), Chief Engraver to the Royal Mint and Baptiste Merlen (JBM) a French engraver this collaboration saw the inception and creation the Shield back coinage (1838 - 1887)
The so called Young Head (1871 – 1887) saw a collaboration of William Wyon (WW), Chief Engraver to the Royal Mint who designed the obverse and
reverse designed by Italian medallist Benedetto Pistrucci (BP).
Rather than a shield on the reverse Pistrucci's saint George and the dragon design was reused from 1871.
The series of coins know as the Jubilee Head (1887 – 1893) saw the obverse designed by Austrian sculptor Joseph Edgar Boehm (JEB) and the reverse designed by Italian medallist Benedetto Pistrucci (BP).
Towards the end of Victoria's reign it was the job of the English sculptor Thomas Brock (TB) to design the obverse effigy of Victoria's. The reverse was designed by Italian medallist Benedetto Pistrucci (BP).
One of the most iconic coins from this era has to be the gold five pound piece. They have become increasingly more desirable over the years especially visually stunning proof examples, . Being the last design of Victoria’s long and accomplished reign, adds to the popularity of this Old Head design, in today’s market they regularly sell in excess of £20,000.