UNITED KINGDOM. Victoria, 1837-1901.
Gold half-sovereign, 1890. London. No JEB High shield DISH L509.
No half sovereigns were struck in 1888 and 1889 in an attempt to steer the public towards greater use of silver coins, which were less prone to wear than the half-sovereign and so more cost-effective. The double-florin (4 shillings) piece was produced 1887-1890 to offset for the half-sovereign shortage, but weighs 22.6 grams and measures 36 mm. The public was not happy about carrying around the equivalent value of the widely used half-sovereign (10 shillings) in silver coins. Production of half sovereigns recommenced in 1890 with 2,266,023 coins.
Having experienced lots of issues with the Jubilee coinage in the run-up to the Queen's Jubilee, the Mint continued making tweaks to the design in the following years. To improve metal flow, the reverse shield was redesigned and moved slightly lower (sometimes called wide date as the lower part of the shield pushed the date further apart). However, the Mint continued using the high shield dies from 1887 production runs until 1892, the later ones being very rare (1891 is ultra-rare). For 1890, both types are common, the new lower shield type coins slightly more prevalent than the high shield.
Crowned and veiled Jubilee bust facing left; no JEB on truncation; inscription: VICTORIA DEI GRATIA BRIT: REGINA F: D:. / High, crowned and embellished shield-of-arms; date in exergue; BRITANNIARUM REGINA FID: DEF:.
Reference: Marsh-479B; S-3869C; DISH-L509
Diameter: 19.3 mm.
Weight: 3.99 g. (AGW=0.1176 oz.)
Composition: 917.0/1000 Gold.
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