The Legendary 1863 Gold Sovereign “Die 827"
Updated: Jul 4, 2020
Writing about such a rarity in this fascinating series of early Victoria Sovereigns always thrills me. Now in this age of Google and social media is all too easy to find almost anything so I am not going to drag on but just add a few words to this story.
First the facts. The coin was minted in 1863 in Royal Mint London. What is very interesting though is that a number 827 is engraved where you would normally expect to see WW (William Wyon’s initials).
It was first discovered in 1954 by a Mr. E.Pugh in England*. Fast forward to 1996 when in London a sale was carried out of some 28,000 Sovereigns all recovered from the wreckage of the famous ship the RMS Douro Cargo*. Out of this enormous figure only two “827” 1863 dated Sovereigns were discovered further endorsing it’s rarity.
So what does 827 mean and to what does it relate? There are no hard facts and records on this but research in 1977 by Mr. G.P.Dyer (Librarian and Curator of the Royal Mint then) shows that indeed the Royal Mint was experimenting in year 1863 with gold ingots numbered from 816 to 830*. Is it not reasonable to suggest that 827 refers to one of the ingots? A strong possibility*.
There are two varieties known. One carries a die 22 (M.M 48A R5) and one has no die (M.M 46A R6) with the later slightly rarer.
The coin here is the rarer of the two varieties M.M. 46A R6. Only 6 examples of this variety have surfaced (apparently 7 now?) with 9 of the die 22*. As a comparison a total of 20 1841 Sovereigns show on both grading companies pop report with just 4 of this 1863 variety.
Please also view my first video attempt on this. Not particularly successful I admit, hopefully I will improve with time.
*Literature: The Gold Sovereign (2017) Michael Marsh (Revised by Steve Hill).