NGC Registry Updated NGC Registry

GT.BRITAIN, GOLD SOVEREIGN, 1817 - DATE, CIRCULATION ISSUE


Set Type: Sovereign, 1817-Date, Circulation Issue
Owner: TMS Coins
Last Modified: 2/9/2021
Views: 843

Rank: 1
Score: 106667
Leading by: 54996
Points to Higher Rank: N/A
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Set Description:

GT.BRITAIN, GOLD SOVEREIGNS, CIRCULATION ISSUE, 1817 - DATE ( GEORGE III - ELIZABETH II).

The GOLD SOVEREIGN is one of Britain's famous coins. A coin full of history and emotional attachment which has become an icon of Britain itself. Synonymous with wealth and reliability the sovereign has played an important part in the nation's, and the world's history. The sovereign flourished alongside Britain's growing empire to become a coin of international status. Its fineness and accuracy is amongst the highest standards of any coins throughout the world.
Highly prized for its numismatic value, the sovereign is the favourite of coin collectors the world over.

The Royal Mint struck its first gold sovereign in 1489 during the reign of Henry VII. This coin became known as a "sovereign" because the obverse design depicted the King enthroned in regal splendour. It was the first gold coin produced with a value of one pound or twenty shillings, it was the largest coin yet issued in England and also the most beautiful. The modern sovereign, smaller and featuring on the obverse the monarch's head and on the reverse the classic St. George and the dragon design by Benedetto Pistrucci, was introduced in 1817, during the reign of King George III (1760-1820), taking the form in which we know it today. The sovereign with the value of one pound or twenty shillings, was to replace the guinea, a coin introduced early in the reign of Charles II. As with the guinea the sovereign was struck in 22 carat gold. It has a diameter of 22 mm and a weight 7.988 g. Until the First World War, when it was superseded by paper money, the sovereign remained an every day coin used for every day commerce.

Gold sovereigns continued to be issued by the Royal Mint in London for the reigns of King George IV (1821-1830), King William IV (1831-1837), Queen Victoria (1838-1901), King Edward VII (1902-1910), and King George V (1911-1936).
After 1925 currency gold sovereigns were not issued by the Royal Mint until 1957 when the first currency sovereign was struck during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II (1952-). Today the gold sovereign is still struck by the Royal Mint though as a collectors item.

Some 500 million sovereigns were struck by the Royal Mint but the bulk have been melted down and either recoined or converted into bullion bars ( In 1930 the Bank of England had to melt down a total of 91,350,000 Sovereigns from their stock). Approximately ten million sovereigns believed to exist, many in worn condition. Many others, exported to India and the Middle East, were pierced for bridal dowries. Elsewhere countless sovereigns have been mounted or converted into jewellery. Thus the number of sovereigns in collectable grades is possibly fewer than five million.
To put together a representative collection of sovereigns from 1817 to the present day, is a very difficult but challenging goal.

KING GEORGE III, CURRENCY GOLD SOVEREIGNS 1817-1820.

The Reign of King George III (1760-1820) House of Hanover.
Born: 4 June 1738.
Accession: 25 October 1760.
Married: Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz 8 September 1761 the day they met for the first time.
Coronation: Tuesday, 22 September 1761.
Children: Nine sons, six daughters.
Died: 29 January 1820, aged 81.

On 25 October 1760 King George II died and his grandson succeeded to the throne as George III. During his reign sovereigns were issued for every year from 1817 to 1820. These sovereigns, even the common dates, are becoming more difficult to find in really nice condition. The 1817 issue is the easiest for the collector to acquire. Without doubt the rarest coin in this series is that of 1819 and it is in fact the greatest rarity in the London sovereign series (R6 M.Marsh).

KING GEORGE IV, CURRENCY GOLD SOVEREIGNS 1820-1830.

The Reign of King George IV (1820-1830) House of Hanover.
Born: 12 August 1762.
Accession: 29 January 1820.
Married: Caroline of Brunswick 8 April 1795 later separated and banned from attending the Coronation.
Coronation: Thursday, 19 July 1821.
Child: One daughter Charlotte who predeceased her Father 6 November 1817.
Died: 26 June 1830, aged 67.

King George IV succeeded to the throne upon the death of his father George III on 29 January 1820. During his reign there were to be two different designs of sovereigns, the "laurate head" and the "bare head".
The "laurate head" sovereigns were issued for every year from 1821 to 1825, and low grade coins for the more common years of 1821,1822 or 1824 can easily be found, however both the 1823 and 1825 are very rare dates (R3 M.Marsh).
The "bare head" sovereign was first introduced in 1825 and thus there are two different types of sovereign for this year. This type was struck until the end of the reign in 1830. The "bare head" sovereigns in general have become more difficult to find these days and only the year 1826 can be considered as easy to acquire. Four of the other sovereigns, 1825, 1827, 1829 and 1830 are all rated scarce. The 1828 sovereign is without doubt the rarest date of the series. It is the low mintage (386,182) of this coin that causes it to be rated R4.

KING WILLIAM IV, CURRENCY GOLD SOVEREIGNS 1831-1837.

The Reign of King William IV (1830-1837) House of Hanover.
Born: 21 August 1765.
Accession: 26 June 1830.
Married: Adelaide of Saxe-Coburg and Meiningen, 11 July 1818 after first meeting a week before, a double wedding with his brother, Prince Edward the Duke of Kent.
Coronation: Thursday, 8 September 1831.
Children: Two daughters who both died in childhood, ten illegitimate children previously.
Died: 20 June 1837.

King William IV succeeded his brother King George IV on 26 June 1830. During his reign two types of sovereigns have been recognised, the "First bust" and the "Second bust" and there are certain features that distinguish the difference between the two busts. The "First bust" sovereign was introduced in 1831 and also appeared in 1832. The "Second bust" was introduced in 1832 and further issued for every year, except 1834, up to and including 1837.
In general, sovereigns of King William seldom appear either in low or high grade. The 1831 sovereign is the rarest date of the series (R2/R5), although the 1836 variety with additional N above ANNO is also a rare date (R3). The rest are all rated scarce.

QUEEN VICTORIA, CURRENCY GOLD SOVEREIGNS 1838-1901.

The Reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) House of Hanover.
Born: 24 May 1819.
Accession: 20 June 1837.
Married: Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, 10 February 1840.
Coronation: Thursday 28 June 1838.
Children: Four sons, five daughters.
Died: 22 January 1901, aged 81.

Queen Victoria (1819-1901), began her reign upon the death of her uncle on 20 June 1837. She enjoyed the longest reign of any monarch so far. Many fine types and varieties of gold sovereigns were produced during Victoria's reign, with three main designs recognised: The "Young Head", the "Jubilee Head" and the "Old Head" (Veiled Head).
Regarding the "Young Head" design, with the young head of the Queen facing left on the obverse, two main types were produced, the "Shield Reverse" (1838-1874) and the "St. George Reverse" (1871-1885). The "Shield Reverse" sovereigns were devided in two main categories: The first "Without Die Number" (1838-1872) and the second "With Die Number" (1863-1874). Sovereigns from the "Shield" series are the most attractive of Victoria's reign and they present the collector a great difficulty, especially if he wants to acquire them in top condition; that even applies to coins which are rated common or normal. The "St. George" examples can be easily found, but without doubt the 1879 date is the rarest (R4 M.Marsh). This sovereign of which only 20,013 were struck, seldom appears, and even when it does it will be in low grade.
The "Jubilee Head " design was introduced in 1887, and this of course was the fiftieth anniversary of the Queen's accession. Sovereigns with this design were issued for every year until 1892 and will not present too many problems for the collector to find, except the high grade examples.
The "Veiled Head" design was introduced in 1893 and issues were struck yearly until 1901. These sovereigns also, in average grade, can be easily acquired by the collector.

KING EDWARD VII, CURRENCY GOLD SOVEREIGNS 1902-1910.

The Reign of King Edward VII (1901-1910) House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
Born: 9 November 1841.
Accession: 22 January 1901.
Married: Alexandra of Denmark 10 March 1863.
Coronation: Saturday, 9 August 1902.
Children: Three sons, three daughters.
Died: 6 May 1910, aged 68.

King Edward VII (1841-1910) began his reign upon the death of Queen Victoria in January 1901.
The first gold sovereign for Edward VII was struck in 1902, featuring the bust of the monarch on the obverse, and on the reverse the design of Saint George slaying the Dragon.
During Edward's reign, the Royal Mint continued to issue sovereigns yearly until 1910. All these issues will not present many problems for the collector, although he will still find some difficulty in obtaining really choice examples.

KING GEORGE V, CURRENCY GOLD SOVEREIGNS 1911-1925.

The Reign of King George V (1910-1936) House of Windsor.
Born: 3 June 1865.
Accession: 6 May 1910.
Married: Mary of Teck, 6 July 1893.
Coronation: Thursday, 22 June 1911, second Coronation as Emperor of India at the Delhi Durbar, Tuesday, 12 December 1911.
Children: Five sons, one daughter.
Died: 20 January 1936, aged 70.

King George V (1865-1936) succeeded to the throne upon the death of his father King Edward VII in May 1910. Several million gold coins were struck during his reign but few would be used for currency. The main reason for this was the Great War of 1914-1918, and the outbreak of this in August 1914 quickly saw the Government issue Treasury notes for one pound and ten shillings. The public were urged not to use gold and by 1915 gold had all but dissappeared from circulation in London. The Royal Mint struck gold sovereigns during George V reign for the years 1911 up to 1917 and again in 1925, all featuring on the obverse the bust of the King facing left and on the reverse the design of St.George slaying the Dragon. From all these sovereigns the 1917 coin is by far the rarest and is seldom seen (R5). The 1916 date will perhaps prove a little difficult for most (R). The other dates, in average grade, present no problem for the collector to acquire.

KING GEORGE VI (1937-1952).

The Reign of King George VI (1936-1952) House of Windsor.
Born: 14 December 1895.
Accession: 11 December 1936.
Married: Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, 26 April 1923. Coronation: Wednesday, 12 May 1937.
Children: Two daughters.
Died: 6 February 1952, aged 56.

During this reign only proof gold sovereigns were struck by the Royal Mint as part of the four coin Coronation Proof Set (Mintage: 5001).

QUEEN ELIZABETH II, CURRENCY GOLD SOVEREIGNS 1957-DATE.

The Reign of Queen Elizabeth II (1952- ) House of Windsor.
Born: 21 April 1926.
Accession: 6 February 1952.
Married: Philip of Greece and Denmark, 20 November 1947.
Coronation: Tuesday, 2 June 1953.
Children: Three sons, one daughter.
Celebrating her Diamond Jubilee Year 2012.

Queen Elizabeth II was born on 21 April 1926 and succeeded her father George VI after his death in 1952. To date we have seen five different busts of the Queen and all have been the work of excellent sculptors. The reverse for these five different issues all display Benedetto Pistrucci's St.George slaying the dragon. The first bust was introduced in 1953 and it was in fact a proof sovereign. The second bust issued in 1957 as a currency coin and continued to be issued until 1968. The third bust was issued again as a currency sovereign from 1974 to 1982. With the same third bust a series of proof sovereigns was issued from 1979 to 1984. In 1985 the fourth bust was introduced only as a proof issue and continued to be struck yearly until 1997. In 1998 the fifth bust was introduced again as a proof issue and continued to be issued yearly until today. With the same fifth bust in 2000, a bullion sovereign was issued and continued to be struck yearly until today.
In general Queen Elizabeth II sovereigns can be easily found in average grade, although some difficulty exists finding really choice examples.

SPECIFICATIONS OF THE SOVEREIGN

DIAMETER: 22.05mm
WEIGHT: 7.9887g
ALLOY: Gold
FINENESS: 22 Carat
MILLESIMAL FINENESS: 0.916
EDGE: Milled

REFERENCES:

THE GOLD SOVEREIGN, Jubilee Edition 2002, by Michael A. Marsh.
THE SOVEREIGN, A History and Price Guide, by Daniel Fearon and Brian Reeds.
A HISTORY OF THE SOVEREIGN, by Kevin Clancy. A Royal Mint Museum publication, 2nd Edition 2017.
COINS OF ENGLAND & THE UNITED KINGDOM, 52nd Edition 2017, by SPINK.
THE COIN YEAR BOOK 2012, Edited by John W. Mussell.
THE BENTLEY COLLECTION OF BRITISH MILLED SOVEREIGNS (Catalogue), Auctioned by A.H.Baldwin & Sons.

Click on the icon to see the World Coin Price Guide.

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