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Gold sovereign

A gold sovereign is a British gold coin, first issued in 1489 for Henry VII, generally with a value of twenty shillings or one pound. The name sovereign related to the majestic and impressive size and portraiture of the coin, the earliest of which showed the king facing, seated on a throne while the reverse shows the Royal coat of arms on a shield surrounded by a Tudor double rose.

Sovereigns were discontinued after 1604, being replaced by unitess, and later by laurelss, and then guineas. Production of sovereigns restarted in 1817, their reverse design being a portrayal of Saint George killing a dragon, engraved by Benedetto Pistrucci. This same design is still in use on British gold sovereigns, although different reverse designs have been used during the reigns of William IV, Victoria, George IV and Elizabeth II.

They were produced in large quantities until World War I, at which time the UK came off the Gold Standard. From then until 1932, soverigns were produced only at branch mints at Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Bombay and Pretoria (except for some in 1925 produced in London). The last regular issue was in 1932 (at Pretoria). Production resumed in 1957, and they were produced most years as bullion until 1982. From there to 1999, proof only versions were produced, but since 2000, bullion sovereigns have been minted.

In summary, sovereigns were produced as follows:

London : 1817 - 1917, 1925, 1957 onwards

Melbourne : 1871 - 1931

Sydney : 1871 - 1926

Perth : 1899 - 1931

Bombay : 1918 only

Ottawa : 1908 - 1919

Pretoria : 1923 - 1932

For a list of sovereign mintages since 1887, see the link below.

Half sovereigns, double sovereigns, and five pound (quintuple sovereigns?) coins were also produced.

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