Victoria, 1837-1901 Tokens, Medals, etc

Key Events

 1837 Victoria succeeds her uncle, William IV
 1838 Publication of People’s Charter. Start of Chartism.
 1839 First Afghan War. British Forces capture the fortress of Ghazi in Afghanistan.
 1839 – 42 First Opium War. Britain gains Hong Kong.
 1840 Victoria marries Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
 1840 The Penny Post is introduced. First postage stamp is the Penny Black.
 1840 First colonist settlement in New Zealand
 1841 Sir Robert Peel becomes Prime Minister
 1842 End of First Opium War. Britain gains Hong Kong
 1843 Launch of SS Great Britain the worlds first all metal ship.
 1844 Railway building mania starts. 5,000 miles of track are built in Britain by 1846
 1845 – 1849 Irish Potato Famine kills more than a million people. Many emigrate to America.
 1846 Repeal of the Corn Laws
 1848 Major Chartist demonstration in London.
 1848 Pre-Raphaelite movement begins
 1849 Harrods store in London is opened
 1851 Great Exhibition takes place in Hyde Park. Its success is largely due to Prince Albert.
 1852 Death of the Duke of Wellington
 1853 Vaccination against smallpox made compulsory.
 1853 Victoria uses chloroform during the birth of Prince Leopold.
 1854 -1856 Crimean War fought by Britain and France against Russia.
 1854 Charge of the Light Brigade
 1854 10,000 die of cholera from contaminated water in London.
 1856 The Victoria Cross is instituted for military bravery.
 1856 David Livingstone discovers the Victoria Falls
 1857 -1858 Indian Mutiny against British rule.
 1858 Isambard Kingdom Brunel launches The Great Eastern, the largest ship in the world and the first with a double iron hull.
 1858 First trans-Atlantic telegraph service
 1859 Publication of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of the Species.
 1861 Prince Albert dies of typhoid
 1861 – 65 Civil War in America. Southern states unsuccessfully seek to involve Britain which has sufficient cotton from Egypt and India, but needs the Union North’s grain.
 1863 The world’s first underground railway is opened in London
 1863 Edward, Prince of Wales, marries Alexandra of Denmark
 1863 The Salvation Army is founded.
 1863 The Football Association is founded.
 1865 Slavery is ended in America with Northern Union victory in the American Civil War
 1867 The Second Reform Bill doubles the franchise vote to two million.
 1867 Canada becomes the first independent dominion in the Empire.
 1867 Karl Marx publishes the first volume of Das Kapital
 1868 Gladstone becomes Prime Minister for the first time.
 1869 The Irish Church is disestablished.
 1870 First Education Act. Primary education becomes compulsory.
 1870 Death of Charles Dickens
 1871 Trade Unions are legalized
 1872 Secret voting is introduced for elections.
 1872 Henry Stanley finds David Livingstone who had been missing in Africa.
 1874 Disraeli becomes Prime Minister for the second time.
 1875 Suez Canal shares purchased for Britain.
 1875 Thomas Moy demonstrates his Aerial Steamer the worlds first flying machine at Crystal Palace, London
 1876 Victoria becomes Empress of India.
 1876 Scots Alexander Graham Bell demonstrates the telephone
 1878 Second Afghan War. British defend the Kyber Pass.
 1878 William Booths Christian movement adopts the name The Salvation Army
 1879 Tay Bridge disaster
 1879 Zulu war, British troops massacred at Isandlwana and Rorkes Drift
 1880 Gladstone succeeds Disraeli as Prime Minister
 1880 – 1881 First conflict with Boers in South Africa
 1883 British occupy Egypt
 1884 Third Reform Act all adult males given the vote.
 1884 Greenwich Meridian and Mean Time adopted
 1886 First Irish Home Rule Bill fails to pass House of Commons. Gladstone resigns as Prime Minister.
 1887 Victoria celebrates her Golden Jubilee. She has ruled for 50 years.
 1887 Independent Labour Party is founded.
 1891 Free schooling is introduced. 11 years later school attendance becomes compulsory for all children.
 1893 Second Irish Home Rule Bill fails to pass the House of Lords.
 1897 Victoria celebrates her Diamond Jubilee.
 1897 Marconi demonstrates wireless transmission across the Bristol Channel
 1899 -1902 Boer War in South Africa. Siege of Mafeking
 1900 Labour party founded
 1901 Queen Victoria dies, aged 81.

Tokens, Medals, etc


1837 “Cumberland Jack” Tokens

The tokens & counters that bear the words “To Hanover” (commonly known as Cumberland Jacks) are usually found with Victoria’s portrait on the obverse and a figure riding a horse on the reverse (in the style of St George slaying the dragon).

The history behind these pieces is that when Victoria was crowned as Queen, she was unable to fulfil the role of King of Hanover under Salic Law, due to the fact that she was a female. Her unpopular Uncle (Ernest Augustus, the Duke of Cumberland) who was the oldest male heir to the throne was sent off to Hanover instead to fulfil the role, and the counters/tokens were produced to commemorate (celebrate) his departure. Such was his unpopularity that many of the tokens on closer inspection actually depict a monkey on horseback which was intended to portray the Duke.

They were produced around the time of Victoria’s ascension to the throne in 1837, and continued to be produced for the next few decades. They were finally made illegal in 1883.


Unofficial farthing token c. 1843


Unofficial farthing token issued by Isaac Earlysman Sparrow, Ironmonger of Bishopsgate, London in the early 1840s. This is an undated version (several versions are known). The balloon refers to a balloon flight taken by Isaac Sparrow with the famous balloonist Charles Green in 1843. This flight is variously reported as costing fifty shillings or fifty pounds.


Model Penny, c. 1844


1870s Penny Token

British Workman Public House Company Limited – Shrewsbury Cocoa Rooms

The British Workman’s Public House Co. Ltd. was part of the Victorian temperance movement

1887 Imitation Half Sovereign by Lauer of Nuremburg


1897 Diamond Jubilee Medal (by T. Brock)

A collection of predominantly English coins from the Tudor era to the present day

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