2 - HM Queen Elizabeth II Sovereign 2010 - Date
After a journey that has taken us two years to complete we reach the final decade of the currency type sovereign. Before we depart on the final leg, a quick word about the Royal Mint itself, upon moving production to South Wales in 1975 the Mint was made a 'Trading Fund' by the government of the day, although still a government department this required the loss making institution to become self financing. By 2001 the Royal Mint was again recording annual losses, and the financial crisis of 2008 meant the government was looking to raise revenue, as part of that the chancellor of the exchequer 'Alistair Darling' suggested privatisation of the Royal Mint. This suggestion was met with condemnation, however a privatisation of sorts did go ahead. On 31st December 2009 the Royal Mint Ltd company was established as a fully private company with just one share holder, HM treasury. This gave the mint much more flexibility to establish new products, and even create its own bullion and coin enterprises. 2011 really saw the start of this new era with the Royal Mint not only a coin producer but as a player within the investment and collectors markets.
2011 saw another now standard design sovereign with of course the streamer now omitted from St Georges helmet. However, 2012 gives us another of the one off unique design sovereigns. Pictured above this design by Sculptor 'Paul Day' was the winning entry in the Royal Mints competition. The depiction of George& Dragon shows the Dragon in a fiercer light, and St George almost head on. You may be asked to pay a few pounds more for a 2012 but £450 should be ample.
2013/14/15 are all standard issue design with 2015 being the very last year of the Ian Rank-Broadley [IRB] 4th portrait obverse. After 18 years of the IRB portrait its run had come to an end. Its replacement was to come from Jody Clark who had worked at the Royal Mint as an engraver since 2012. Primarily on medals, but did have a design featured on the 2014 Britannia coin. Jody's anonymously submitted design for the new 5th head portrait in the Royal Mint competition was chosen to be the definitive portrait to feature on all UK coinage.
Jody Clark's [JC] 5th portrait design (above). although this first appeared on standard British coins in 2015, it does not make its currency type sovereign debut until 2016. If you want a sovereign with the JC obverse for this year you do have the option of the proof issue, and the strike on the day sovereign for Prince George's 2nd birthday. We talk more about the extensive proof issues and strike on the day sovereigns in the next issue.
2017 marked the 200th anniversary of the modern sovereign, to celebrate this special year and original St George & Dragon design by Benedetto Pistrucci, the Royal mint produced the currency type sovereigns with a Privy Mark. The mark can be found to the left of the date with '200' above. You may be asked to pay a few pounds more for this year but you should be able to find one quite easily for less than £450. There is no proof version of this design for 2017, as we see in the next article these carried a copy of the 1817 reverse.
2018/19/20 are all standard issue design sovereigns, in fact the latest 2020 currency type sovereign is the only way to obtain the standard design coin, both the proof and special edition matt versions carry the Royal Cypher of King George III to mark the 200th anniversary of his death.
HM Queen Elizabeth II sovereign series 1957-2020(Struck Tower Mint London 1953-1975, Llantrisant South Wales 1975-Date)
Total Number of currency type (bullion) sovereigns struck for HM Queen Elizabeth II (1957-2015, note that mintages for JC sovereign 2016 onward are not available) is 85,481,761. Added to those produced for previous reigns 822,575,388 we end with a grand total of @908,057.149 so somewhere around 1 billion currency (bullion) type sovereigns have been produced since 1817.