About this set: Victoria gave her name to the age she lived in; born in 1819, she succeeded her uncle in 1837 and reigned first as Queen, then as Queen-Empress, for the rest of the century. During this time, more than a fifth of the earth's population and 40% of its land-mass came under English domination - the greatest empire the world had ever known. ----Victoria married Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in 1840. They had nine children, who in turn married into the other royal families of Europe, hoping to thus avert the disastrous wars of the past. Victoria's marriage was very relaxed and cheerful. It was only after Albert died in 1861 that she earned a reputation for dourness. She survived him by forty years - a long and glorious reign that left her successors with a difficult act to follow. ---- Early Victoria sovereigns had a shield-type reverse, with later sovereigns employing the now familiar St. George and the Dragon design by Pistrucci. Different obverse portraits exist for Victoria, including a small young head; a larger young profile; the "Jubilee head" of 1887; and the "Old head or Veiled bust" introduced in 1893. Victoria business strike sovereigns were issued from 1838 through 1901, but proof and pattern issues were rare. The Spencer Collection includes many of the Finest Known examples, including the 1837 Pattern/Proof listed as optional because of its rarity. Ex Douglas-Morris Collection, Sotheby's (11-74, lot 198), R5; small head Victoria, compact closely spaced letters, WR-295.
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