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Key information

Denominations and weights

Carat / purity: 22ct / 91.6%

Die Axis direction

Modern sovereigns are struck with both faces the same way up, earlier coins were struck with the 2 faces in opposing directions.

1817 - 1887: Obverse ↑Reverse ↓

1887 - Date: Obverse ↑Reverse ↑

Modern coins with opposing direction sides should be checked for authenticity.



Information and Help pages

Gold Sovereign Coin information

The Gold Sovereign Coin

The gold sovereign as we know it today was first produced in 1817 to take over from the gold guinea coinage, while the guinea was worth 21 shillings in the old monetry system, the sovereign was to be worth 20 shillings. The coin also differs from the Guinea by having a milled edge (with exception of the 1937 proof with plain edge), however it is not known how many mills were designed to be around each year as this is a closely guarded secret by the Royal mint.

The current sovereign type has been used for 8 monarchs and has had 5 different St George and Dragon designs, and 4 different Royal shield designs in its 2 centrury history.

Sheild reverse years

  • 1821-1887
  • 2002

St George & The dragon reverse years

  • 1817-1825
  • 1874-2001
  • 2003-date

The classic St George was designed and created by Benadetto Pistrucci, With the 2 modern updates being created by Tomothy Noad (2005) and Paul Day (2012)

   

A few abreviations appear on the sovereign and on other coins and you may have wondered what they mean, here is a very quick guide.

DEI GRA = Appointed by God, BRITT = Britain or Britannia, REGINA / REX = Queen or King, FID DEF = Defender of the faith, IND IMP (For Victoria - George V) = Empress/Emperor of India

2 or 3 lettered abbreviations in small font beside the monarchs bust will always denote the engravers intiials, for example on the young head victorian sovereign, there is WW, this stands for William Wyon who created that bust design for Queen Victoria, BP will always be beside the classic St George design as these are the intitals for Benadetto Pistrucci.


On some coins it is possible to a single letter, Such as P, S, M, I, C or SA, these are mint marks and denote where the coin was made, and was only used during Great Britains empire days. it is also possible on shield sovereigns from the 1860s and 1870s to see a 1-3 digit number on the coin, this is known as a die number, not a lot is known about these sadly due to a loss of records at the Royal mint in the late 19th century, but it is beleived these numbers carry some type of qualty or batch control system of the time.