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Research Coins: Printed Auction


John Brown – Personal Servant to Queen Victoria

Triton XX, Lot: 1632. Estimate $500.
Sold for $900. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

GREAT BRITAIN, temp. Hanover. John Brown, personal servant to Queen Victoria. 1826-1883. AR Medallet (14mm, 1.48 g, 12h). Dated 1883. Bust left / J · B ·/ 1883 in two lines. Eimer –; BHM –. EF, deeply toned. Extremely rare.

From the J. Eric Engstrom Collection.

John Brown served as personal servant and trusted confidant to Queen Victoria for over twenty years. He initially entered the service of Prince Albert as personal gillie or hunting attendant, transferring to the court only after Albert’s death. Brown and Victoria grew quite close, leading many to become jealous and suspicious of the informal nature of their relationship. Edward VII, in particular, disliked the man. On his mother’s death in 1901, he ordered the many busts and photographs of Brown – commissioned by Victoria both before and after his death – to be removed.

Though apparently unpublished, the British Museum has a similar piece in gold, fashioned into a tie-pin, bearing the same portrait flanked by the letters J B, with a reverse reading FROM VRI and bearing a monogram. (Private communication with Philip Attwood, Keeper of Coins and Medals)