Carat / purity: 22ct / 91.6%
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
- The Gold Sovereign: A Brief History
- The Gold Sovereign: Information
- Introduction of £2 and £5 coins
- Mints and Mint Marks
- Investment in gold bullion
- How the grading system works
- The RMS Douro Story
- Gold Weights and Measures
- A Guide to Sovereign Rarity
- Modern English Gold Coins
- South Africa Krugerrands.
- Chinese Gold Panda
- Canadian Maple Leaf
- Gold Bullion Bars
- British Banknotes
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
St George & The dragon reverse years
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.