Throughout Britain’s long history, many monarchs have come and gone. Some wished to immortalise their visage in the gold sovereign, which is still an enduring symbol of Britain’s wealth and power. When the coins were first introduced, they were meant to be flaunted and admired.
Though no longer in circulation, the sovereign coin is still popular even today. Collectors look for coins, both old and new, scanning through sites like Atkinsons Bullion for genuine gold pieces. Though primarily valued for their beauty, newly minted sovereigns are still popular for use as bullion.
Many faces have graced the obverse of gold sovereigns. Here are some of the prominent ones:
Founder of the Tudor dynasty, and perhaps one of England’s most controversial monarchs, Henry VII was the first to introduce the gold sovereign. The heavy golden coin was a display of his power and the wealth of the English monarchy. Indeed, the first coin, struck in 1489, featured King Henry VII on the throne, covered in exquisite garments. The reverse displayed an intricate rose, which was the symbol of the Tudor House.
The more familiar sovereign design featuring St George and the Dragon was minted in 1820. The design was made by the Italian engraver Benedetto Pistrucci and is still being used today. The obverse featured King George III with a Roman laurel crown upon his head.
Several other kings were featured on the gold sovereign, but Queen Victoria was the first queen to appear on the coins. First minted in 1842, Queen Victoria’s coins featured the shield of the Royal Arms on the reverse and her portrait on the obverse. She has several coins in her likeness, featuring her young self and her portrait after she was widowed.
Modern gold sovereigns brought back Pistrucci’s iconic design of St George battling the Dragon. In 1953, in commemoration of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, new coins were minted in her likeness. Since then, every new gold sovereign has featured her face, progressively ageing with each new depiction.
The gold sovereign will continue to be well-loved for its beauty and its uncompromising quality. New monarchs are bound to be featured on its face as long as British crown holds true.