History of the Sovereign coin
In times of trouble the sovereign is often seen as a financial safe haven. Although not the first gold coin minted in England the sovereign has become synonymous with gold, wealth and classic design.
First minted in October 1489 after the War of the Roses during the reign of Henry VII sovereigns were struck to symbolise unity between not only the Houses of Lancaster and York but of the whole of the country itself.
The coin had a portrait of the King on one side and a double rose on the obverse to show unity of the previously warring houses. The coin was to remain in circulation for one hundred and fourteen years until the crowning of James I, who became King of both England and Scotland, production ceased.
This was the case of over a further two hundred years when, after the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 our nations coinage was reviewed. The sovereign was reborn in 1817 under the guise of a twenty-shilling piece and in place of the guinea which was unpopular at the time. At 7.9g, nearly half the weight of the original sovereign, the coin was reborn. This version continued with the Kings portrait (George III) to the front with an image of St George and the Dragon designed by Benedetto Pistrucci to the obverse, however this was replaced with the Royal Coat of Arms in 1825.
From 1871 until 1887 both obverse designs were in use on full and half sovereigns, whilst the reigning Monarch’s portrait remained the constant. It was Queen Victoria’s Jubilee in 1887 that the decision was taken to solely use the design by Pistrucci on all full sovereigns, with the half sovereigns following suit in 1893.
This design has remained in use to the present day with only five variations interrupting the run, these included Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee in 2002 and the anniversary of the modern sovereign itself in 2017.
Sovereigns are often seen as the first step in gold investment so If you wish to sell your gold sovereigns at auction or start a collection of gold sovereigns then auction is the best place to start. The Fieldings coin department is on hand to guide you through the process of buying and selling.
Posted on 24 March 2021