Victoria’s Golden Jubilee coinage
The coinage issued on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887 was never conceived as any kind of commemorative coinage. Preparations for a new portrait and new reverse designs had begun many years before and eventually took so long to resolve that the release of the coins happened to coincide with the year of the Jubilee. When it was then determined that the coinage should be ready for Jubilee Day, the Royal Mint faced a sudden rush at the end of a previously drawn-out process. Easter and Whitsun holidays for workers were cancelled, temporary staff were drafted in to help meet the workload.
Rather than having royal approvals well in hand, the Deputy Master Charles Fremantle was only consulting the Queen about the new designs in March 1887. Moreover, the samples shown to Victoria had to be presented as uniface pieces because the obverse tooling had not yet been completed. The sixpence illustrated here is from the limited production connected with those presented to the Queen for approval. As the coins were, then, to mark her Jubilee, it is unsurprising for her to have commented on the lack of reference to the occasion of her half century on the throne.