Luiz C. writes: I have a UK gold coin that has a Victoria Queen effigy at one side and a Saint George effigy at the other side. At the first one , there is the inscription: FID.DEF.IND.IMP.VICTORIA.DEI.GRA.BRITT.REGINA and at the other, the date 1900. I’d like to know some facts about this coin, the translation of the inscription and the probable quotation.
It sounds like you have a gold Sovereign of Great Britain. This denomination was equal to 1 pound. The obverse shows Queen Victoria and the reverse shows St. George as a young Knight on horseback armed with a lance and fighting a dragon that is under the horses’s legs. The story of St. George goes back to the Middle Ages. The myth goes something like this:
In the land of Syria lived a dragon who extorted sacrifices of sheep and later sheep and children. When it was the daughter of the King’s turn to become dragon food, the knight St. George appeared, slayed the dragon and freed the King’s daughter.
One could take the symbolism of the St. George image to represent the defender of Christianity and the British Empire. This sentiment may be correct as the Latin legend on the obverse translates as “Victoria, by the grace of G-d, Queen of the Britains and India and Defender of the Faith.
Sovereigns are plentiful and most dates trade near the price of gold (.2354 actual gold weight).