British Sovereign Gold Coins

The British Sovereign Gold Coin series is produced in the United Kingdom (as could be easily assumed by its name as a British Sovereign coin). It has a value of one pound sterling, but is used as a bullion coin instead. Its namesake is the English gold sovereign, which was last minted in 1604, and the minting of these new sovereign coins began in 1817, a year after the Great Recoinage of 1816 was launched.

The Great Recoinage of 1816 was an attempt by the government in Great Britain to re-stabilize the currency of the country after the economic hardships caused by the Napoleonic Wars (1799 to 1815) and the French Revolutionary Wars (1792 to 1799). The gold content for the British Sovereign Gold Coins after the Great Recoinage was 113 grains, and it remains at that point today.

The British Sovereign Gold Coins were minted in Great Britain from 1817 to 1917, again in 1925, and again in 1957. Australia, India, Canada, and South Africa have all also minted the coins in the past. And in addition to the British Sovereign Gold Coin, the British Royal Mint also produced half sovereigns (the ten shilling version), double sovereigns (the two pound version), and the quintuple sovereign (the five pound version). And in 2009, another new version was announced for production by the Royal Mint, the quarter sovereign.

The Royal Mint ended up creating a new die for the 2007 and 2008 versions of the coins. The reverse die for the 2007 version of the coin was based on the original design created by Pistrucci, one that was actually reworked to make master tools. The Royal Mint used a combination of hand engraving skills and digital technology, and it tried its best to restore all of the detail lost or changed over time.

As a result, the 2007 have significant differences to the coins minted in earlier years. In the 2007 version of the British Sovereign Gold Coin, the shape of the tail of the horse is different, and now has the left hand side of the edge of the ground. The initials of BP (Benedetto Pistrucci) are much smaller than they had been on previous coins. The reverse side of the coin now most closely resembles the version of St. George and the Dragon that was on the George III 1818 silver crowns.


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