4 - Proof Sovereigns HM Queen Elizabeth II 2010 - 2022

I had intended to conclude the series last month, but in truth so much has changed at the Royal Mint over the past decade, and so many variants of the sovereign have and continue to emerge it just wasn't possible to fit it into a single article. The post privatised Mint have kept collectors busy not only in the area of the sovereign, but in a whole host of limited edition proof coins. In defining this article, the term 'Proof Sovereign' is not strictly correct as I have included Strike on The Day and Piedfort variants, some of which are actually classified as BU and not proof.

So lets get started, the 2010 and 2011 proof issue sovereigns are what we can call the standard IRB design. As noted in our currency type sovereign walk through the reverse St George Dragon design was tweaked slightly after 2008 with streamer from helmet now removed. I mention this again as it should also be noted that this change only affected the full sovereign, and for those that collect the sets or other denominations of the sovereign they will notice the streamer remains.

The Sovereign from 2009 with Streamer now omitted from St George's helmet.

2012 sees another one of the special design 1 year only sovereigns, this time by Sculptor 'Paul Day' who's competition entry was chosen by The Royal Mint Advisory Committee

Paul described his design : “I have chosen to opt for a romantic version of the St George and the dragon theme, a medieval knight of Arthurian legend rather than a classical hero. I have given the dragon a more threatening attitude and size, so that it represents a real menace and not a weak foe.”

The Paul Day Reverse design for 2012 featuring fiercer Dragon.

As we have come to expect with these one off designs, they are now quite desirable with a price tag of @£1000-£1250.  This year also sees the introduction of the Strike on the Day Sovereign (SOTD), a tradition which continues to this day and one which has now earned its right to separate listings in the 2021 Coins Of England 'Decimal Edition', I am grateful to both Paul Davies and David Fletcher ( CoE Decimal section) for advance information, making it possible to list them all for you.

2nd June 2012 Strike on the Day : Diamond Jubilee Celebration Day. The number of coins issued, 1990 and is described as BU and is milled. These do come in a presentation case along with numbered certificates similar to that of the proof edition. These are available for @£600-£700. 2021 CoE Catalogue reference : SC8.

2013 provides us with the classic St George reverse design IRB obverse proof sovereign., as well as 2 Strike on the Day editions. 2nd June 2013, 60th Anniversary of the Coronation, BU and milled, number issued 900 and CoE Cat Ref : SC7. The 2nd SOTD sovereign issued, 22nd July 2013, issue limit 2013, number issued 2013 CoE Cat Ref : SC7, to celebrate the Birth of Prince George, again of BU type, and milled. Price wise the Proof version will cost @£600 with the SOTD editions a similar amount with Prince George maybe up to £700.

2014, the penultimate year of the IRB obverse sovereign, sees a proof version and just one SOTD sovereign issued for the 1st birthday of Prince George on 22nd July, type BU, milled and of the 400 issue limit 398 were actually produced. The proof version has become quite sought after for this year so you may need to find @£750 for one of these and maybe £650- £700 for the SOTD edition.

2015, The reign of Ian Rank-Broadley was to come to an end in this year as his 4th portrait of the queen seen on all UK coinage from 1998, gave way to the new Jody Clark designed 5th head effigy. As a consequence there are 2 different obverse proof versions for 2015, the outgoing IRB design and incoming Jody Clark [JC]. The 4th head version can be found a little easier and cheaper than the 5th, but prices for either will range from @£600-£650. The now established SOTD sovereigns did not disappoint by providing an additional 2 more in the series. 2nd May 2015 Birth of Princess Charlotte, little sister to Prince George, and 22nd July 2015 Prince George's 2nd birthday, as you have heard that date 3 times now, its possible you will never forget Prince Georges birthday. The former coin is BU, milled and carries the IRB 4th portrait while the latter carries the newly introduced JC 5th portrait. Both carry the CoE cat ref SC7, of the 750 issue limit for Charlotte, 743 were issued and of the 400 limit for George just 301 were produced. The Prince George coin is the more expensive of the 2 with a price of @£700 and Charlotte nearer to £600.

The New Queen Elizabeth II 5th Portrait by designer Jody Clark first appears in 2015.

2016 sees the Jody Clark 5th Portrait adorning all UK coinage, with the IRB series now completely behind us. Well nearly, although the BU sovereign does carry the new 5th portrait, the sovereign is a special one off portrait to commemorate Her Majesty the Queen's 90th Birthday, by renowned sculptor James Butler MBE RA. James was not new to coin design as his Great Seal of the Realm was adopted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2001 and is one of the few sculptors to have been granted a sitting with the Queen. There was also a SOTD sovereign, issued 11th June 2016 to celebrate the Queens 90th Birthday, what is interesting here is that the obverse design is the 5th Portrait by Jody Clark, and of course it was not Her Majesties actual birthday, which was 21st April, but her official one which falls on the 2nd Saturday of June each year. Type BU, milled, 500 issue limit with 499 struck, CoE cat Ref : SC9, value @£650.

Her Majesty the Queen's 90th Birthday Portrait for 2016, by James Butler MBE RA

2017 is perhaps my favourite of all modern sovereigns, the fantastic 200th Anniversary design. The reverse is simply a reworking of the original 1817 St George and Dragon with garter border by Benedetto Pistrucci. This is certainly where the proof and special edition sovereigns come into their own, as the standard BU sovereign carries just a small privy mark to denote the anniversary. All 2017 sovereigns carry the 5th head portrait by Jody Clark. The standard proof version will set the collector back @£1000 and I use the word standard as 2017 also saw the introduction of the double thickness Piedfort Proof Sovereign, no difference in design just twice the thickness and weight of 15.97 grams, not quite twice the price but @£1500 for this version. Along with these are 3 SOTD sovereigns, 6th February 2017, 65th Anniversary of the Accession, the coin is of BU type, so does not carry the reworked Pistrucci design and is milled, issue limit 750 with 736 produced. CoE Cat Ref : SC9. 20th November 2017 Platinum Wedding of same design, issue limit 750 with 745 issued. CoE Cat Ref : SC9.  Coming back to the 200th anniversary sovereign, on 1st July 2017, the Pistrucci reverse was again used for the SOTD edition. The coin itself is officially classified as BU in truth it looks like a proof struck coin, the giveaway is that this version has a plain edge. Of the 1817 authorised 1793 were struck, CoE Ref : SC9C, price is @£850, and in my opinion worth every penny.

The Superbly reworked original Benedetto Pistrucci designed reverse for 2017.

2018 Sovereigns all carry the Jody Clark 5th Portrait and the classic reverse St George and Dragon reverse, This year again sees a Piedfort edition in tandem with the standard Proof version, 2018 marked the 65th Anniversary of the Coronation, and a special privy mark was added to the proof and SOTD editions. The Privy mark is located within the date on the reverse of the coin. The mark does not appear on the standard BU coin or the SOTD Prince George's 5th Birthday, issued 22nd July 2018, of BU type, but unlike the standard BU sovereign this has a plain edge. Issue limit 750 of which 457 were struck, CoE Ref : SC9C, price @£850 for this one. The other SOTD issued 2nd June 2018 is the 65th Anniversary of the Coronation sovereign, this does carry the '65' Privy mark and again has a plain edge. Just 323 of the 650 authorised were issued, although this is classified a BU type, like the 2017 200th Anniversary SOTD coin, these appear very much closer to proof versions than they do their BU equivalents. CoE ref :  SC9E, and a price tag of @£800. The standard proof coin will be @£600 and the Piedfort @£1250.

2019 does make life a little easier for us, the Royal Mint issued the Piedfort for the 3rd and final time (so far), along with the standard proof version. These carry no special Privy marks and are of the typical 5th portrait design, the standard coin will set you back @£550-£600 and the piedfort @£1000. There were also 2 SOTD coins, 24th May 2019, 200th Anniversary of Birth of Queen Victoria, this coin is easier to spot, it is of Matt finish and carries the Privy mark 'VA' to the left of the date. We don't have the issue numbers, but the limit was 650, it has a plain edge and is classified as BU, CoE Ref : SC9F, Price is @£1000 for these and they are not particularly easy to find. The other SOTD issued 26th August 2019, 200th Anniversary of Birth of Prince Albert, this coin is the same as the previous in all respects except for the Privy mark, which states 'VR' issue limit 650, and CoE Ref : SC9G.

2020 provides us with just the standard Proof edition, no Piedfort issued, however this year is the 200th anniversary of the death of George III and does carry the George III royal cypher mint mark in the date area. The mint mark is not seen on the standard BU coin, and no SOTD was issued for the anniversary itself, but collectors should note that the Royal Mint did issue a limited edition of 10,000 Matt finish BU sovereigns with the cypher. Prices for the 2020 proof are @£550. In addition to these sovereigns, there were 3 SOTD issues, 31st January 2020, Brexit Day, Matt finish, BU type with  crowned portcullis Privy mark within date area, and plain edge. Issue limit 1500, CoE Ref: SC9J, this one is likely to cost @£1000-£1250. 2 more Matt BU type plain edge SOTD sovereigns were issued, 8th May 2020, 75th Anniversary of VE Day, this coin carries the mint mark 'VE75' within the date area. The next to be issued, 15th August 2020, 75th Anniversary of End of World War II and carries the mint mark 'VJ75', again both have plain edges, CoE Ref: SC9K and SC9L respectively, prices for these @800 each.

2021, by the time you read this it will be 2021 so happy new year to all, at time of writing we have just the proof sovereign to mention here. This years offering celebrates Her Majesty the Queens 95th Birthday, the proof sovereign carries the crowned Privy mark with the digits '95' within the date area. This year also sees another feature, the sovereign has just 95 grain mills as opposed to the more usual 108. This is the only time this figure has changed since 1957 when the BU sovereign was issued with 168 mills.

The Crowned Privy Mark to celebrate Her Majesties 95th Birthday with 95 Mills.


List of Proof Sovereigns issued 2010-2021 including Piedfort versions.        
Mintage Obverse Design Reverse Design Type Mark
2010 8828 Ian Rank-Broadley Classic St George Dragon 4th Bust None
2011 8209 Ian Rank-Broadley Classic St George Dragon 4th Bust None
2012 8098 Ian Rank-Broadley Paul Day: St George Dragon 4th Bust None
2013 10,158 Ian Rank-Broadley Classic St George Dragon 4th Bust None
2014 4613 Ian Rank-Broadley Classic St George Dragon 4th Bust None
2015 6045 Ian Rank-Broadley Classic St George Dragon 4th Bust None
2015 8540 Jody Clark Classic St George Dragon 5th Bust None
2016 9661 James Butler Classic St George Dragon 90th Birthday None
2017 12,681 Jody Clark 200th Anniversary St G & D 5th Bust None
2017 Pi *3750 Jody Clark 200th Anniversary St G & D 5th Bust None
2018 10,535 Jody Clark Classic St George Dragon 5th Bust '65'
2018 Pi *2675 Jody Clark Classic St George Dragon 5th Bust '65'
2019 N/A Jody Clark Classic St George Dragon 5th Bust None
2019 Pi *1795 Jody Clark Classic St George Dragon 5th Bust None
2020 *7995 Jody Clark Classic St George Dragon 5th Bust 'RR'
2021 *7995 Jody Clark Classic St George Dragon 5th Bust '95'

* Denotes issue limit only, as the true mintage figure are not known as this time. All other mintages are accurate to the best of our knowledge, to that end I thank David Fletcher for his kind help in putting together this list.The Sovereign from 2009 with Streamer now omitted from St George's helmet.

Proof Sovereigns (1817-1887) - Part 1

Proof Sovereigns (1887-1937) - Part 2

Proof Sovereigns (1953-2009) - Part 3

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