British Sovereign Gold Coin

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British Sovereign Gold Coin Quick Facts

  • .9167 fine gold (22 kt)
  • Mintage since 1817
  • .2354 oz. pure gold
  • Most widely circulated gold coin

The British Sovereign Gold Coin — history of an empire

First minted in 1817, British Sovereign Gold Coins were struck and circulated throughout the British Empire, with hundreds of millions being produced at their peak. For nearly two centuries, the reverse design of St. George on horseback slaying a dragon has remained virtually unchanged. The obverse bears the likeness of the ruling sovereign at the time of mintage.

The most abundant coins by far are those of the four most recent monarchs, with these dates:

  • Victoria: 1839-1839, 1841-1874, 1879-1880, 1887-1896 1898-1901
  • Edward: VII 1902-1910
  • George: V 1911-1917, 1925
  • Elizabeth II: 1953, 1957, 1959, 1962-1968, 1974-1982, 2000-2006

Prior to Queen Elizabeth, the cryptic inscription “D.G. BRITT: OMN: REX[REGINA] F. D. IND: IMP:” surrounded the ruler’s bust, which is abbreviated Latin for “by Grace of God, King[Queen] of all Britons, Defender of the Faith, Emperor[Empress] of India.” Following India’s independence this was shortened to “DEI GRA REGINA FID DEF.”

The reverse design was changed only twice in over a century — celebrating Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887, and Queen Elizabeth’s in 2002, both depicting the British Royal Coat of Arms.

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