1891 pattern crown
The designs for the Jubilee coinage of 1887 attracted criticism on their release and so shortly afterwards, when a new coinage was being considered, a different way of obtaining designs was set in place. Some of the most respected artists of the day were invited to take part in a competition and amongst their number was the sculptor Edward Onslow Ford. He submitted a realistic portrait of Queen Victoria alongside, pictured here, a design for the reverse of the crown on the theme of a standing figure, presumably St Michael.
This pattern piece was not made by the Mint and was acquired for the Museum collection through purchase a few years ago. We are not entirely sure why the piece was prepared in this great size, measuring 80mm in diameter, but it does help to show off to dramatic effect Ford’s bold interpretation of the theme. Here the naked figure of the hero is standing over the dragon, his wings filling the field of the coin. While Ford’s design was accomplished it did not sway the committee judging the competition, who evidently felt content with a more traditional design for the crown.