Victoria (1837-1901), silver proof Gothic Crown, 1847, plain edge, presumably struck in sterling silver, engraved by William Wyon, crowned gothic style bust left, small ww incuse on truncation, trefoil and arc border, legend in lower case Gothic lettering both sides, victoria dei gratia britanniar. reg: f: d., rev. struck en medaille, crowned cruciform shields, emblems in angles, garter star at centre, w incuse on inner border either dies of top crown, date in roman numerals in lower right of legend which commences in upper left quarter, U over inverted n in unita, tueatur unita deus anno dom mdcccxlvii, edge plain, 25.72g (Bull 2578/2579; Davies 471; L&S 58; ESC 291; S.3883). Possibly some form of special VIP striking, the 'Gothic' portrait of Victoria and reverse shields carefully frosted, scattered contact marks in the fields, golden tone at the peripheries, extremely fine and very rare, one of the most popular types of the British Crown series.
One of the most spectacular designs for a silver coin in the entire British Milled series, the proof Gothic Crowns with lettered edge were limited to a mintage of only 8,000 pieces. The plain edge types were struck in a much more limited quantity and either in sterling silver or pure silver. The plain edge version is rare compared to the common lettered edge. William Wyon (1795-1851) was the Royal Academy engraver responsible for this type, and was at the peak of his career having also designed the equally impressive gold "Una and the Lion" Five Pounds pieces of 1839 also dated in Roman numerals.
The present offering could potentially have been struck to order for a VIP client after 1847, as its frosting is more pronounced than usual for the type, its weight is slightly less than standard and it has been struck en medaille. Additionally, the reverse die shows cracking through the legends indicative of extensive use and aging prior to the striking of this piece.