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The official gold coin of the United Kingdom, the British Gold Sovereign was first minted in 1817 by the Royal Mint in London and is one of the most famous bullion coins in the world. In the past, the South African, Australian and Canadian mints have all produced the coins. Today, these uncirculated coins are only minted by the Royal Mint. Each coin contains .2354 troy ounces of 91.67% gold and has a face value of one pound sterling. The British government guarantees each coin’s weight, purity, and content.
This unique coin’s history began over 500 years ago in 1489 when the original British Gold Sovereign was created to celebrate the country’s new-found stability after the end of a long civil war. These famous gold coins were minted until production was discontinued in 1604 during the early reign of James I. The modern coins that collectors are able to purchase today were introduced back into production following the Great Recoinage of 1816. The dates on the coins may vary and will be randomly selected, determined by stock on hand.
The obverse side of each coin features a profile depiction of the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom at the time of production. Over the years, coins have featured profile engravings of Queen Victoria at three different points during her long reign, images of King Edward VII, and King George V. Since 1957, all of the British Gold Sovereigns minted feature the right profile of Queen Elizabeth II, with three different versions over the years, similar to the coins depicting Queen Victoria. Engraved on the same side of the coin is the name and title that corresponds with each of the monarchs.
The reverse side of the coin has always featured an image of St. George mounted on horseback battling a ferocious dragon. This famous image was designed by Italian engraver and medallist, Benedetto Pistrucci. The image has changed several times throughout the many years of the coin’s mintage, but the classic image remains on the coin today in order to make the British Gold Sovereign as recognizable as possible. The year of the coin’s mint is engraved directly below the image of St. George and the dragon.
The British Gold Sovereign coins each contain .2354 troy ounces of gold and are 22.05 mm in diameter and 1.52 mm thick.