Sovereign Die Numbers

As a result of poor quality control pre-1863 the Royal Mint decided to add a small die number to the reverse die. This was placed below the tied bow and ranges from 1 to 123 but not inclusive and dependant on year.

This addition did seem to make a noticable difference in the number of errors occuring, in comparisons to the previous two years 1861 and 1862 showing an unprecidented numbers of die errors.

The table below displays the total number of recorded shield sovereign die numbers. Through the research of Royal Mint records by Michael Marsh and the cataloguing of the Bentley Collection owner, we have the "known to exist" list of die numbers.

We now know that what Marsh recorded contains quite a number of mistakes, and as such in a later iteration of this page they will be split out into their own legend, as decades have passed and these die numbers have never been found it is extremely unlikely that they exist at all.

The Gilchrist Collection has already added 9 previously unrecorded die numbers, including the excessively rare 1874 die number 35 that was never proven to exist until discovered by Gilchrist.

  • KEY:
  • - known to exist,
  • - only recorded in the collection


This table breaks down the known die numbers to show what die numbers exist for which date. Of course with the ommision of 1867 for which no sovereign was minted.

It is interesting to note the large interchangable gaps between 1869, 1870 and 1871, and one wonders whether the reverse die numbered dies were created in previous years and never used until the years to follow.

Die No.

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