1859 Queen Victoria Ansell Sovereign

Rarity 4. NGC - About Uncirculated 58

Date:
1859
Type:
Victoria Sovereign
Mint:
London
Material:
22 Carat Gold
Diameter:
22mm
Weight:
7.98g
Quality:
NGC - About Uncirculated 58
Spink:
3852E
Marsh:
42A (R4)
Status:
Available
Price:
£9,000
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Description:
One of the key coins of the Victoria young head series. Recognised by a small additional line that is placed in the centre lower edge of the ribbon at the back of Victoria's head.

George Frederick Ansell was employed by the Royal Mint. Thomas Graham F.R.S. became Master of the Mint in 1856 and on 29 October that year he wrote to the Treasury recommending the appointment of Ansell; in accordance with this recommendation to a supernumerary clerkship, he took office in the Rolling Room of the Royal Mint. Graham had described him as 'a person of superior education and ability, and great activity and vigour of character'. He also had a very significant scientific back round. In 1859 a quantity of gold valued at £167,539 was ordered to be melted and returned to the Bank as unfit for coin due to its brittle nature; this gold in fact contained small quantities of antimony, arsenic and lead. Ansell asked to experiment with this gold, and although confronted by several obstacles, including the aversion to change, he was eventually given permission. His experiments brought a successful conclusion and as a result all of the gold was re-wrought at very little additional cost, and without annealing. The new sovereigns were in fact so tough that an ordinary man could not break them even with the aid of a pair of pliers. For his efforts Ansell received a letter of thanks from the Master of the Mint plus £100.
This extract is taken from M.A.Marsh The Gold Sovereign Jubilee Edition 2002 p.30

Further reference: G. F. Ansell, "The Royal Mint", London 1871, pp. 49-52 and M. A. Marsh,"The Ansell Sovereign", Spink Numismatic Circular, July1982, pp. 194-95.