Full & Half Sovereign Coins
The half sovereign was first introduced in 1544 under Henry VIII. After 1604, the issue of half sovereigns, along with gold sovereigns, was discontinued until 1817, following a major revision of British coinage. Production continued until 1926 and, apart from special issues for coronation years, was not restarted until 1980. It was also used extensively in Australia, until 1933.
The most common dated half sovereign coins that you are likely to find available here at Pledge Jewellers are:
Queen Elizabeth 1952 - Present Day
King George 1910 – 1936
King Edward 1901 – 1910
Queen Victoria 1837 – 1901
Modern half sovereigns, from 1817 onwards, have a diameter of approx 19mm, a weight of approx 4g, and are made of 22 carat yellow gold. The reverse side, features St. George slaying a dragon and was designed by Benedetto Pistrucci, whose initials appear to the right hand side of the date.
The Full sovereign coin was first issued in 1489 for Henry VII of England. The earliest portraiture of the gold sovereign shows the king seated on a throne facing whilst on the reverse is a shield with the Royal coat of arms which is surrounded by the Tudor Double Rose. The gold sovereign is still in production today and although the coin itself has a nominal face value of around £1 sterling, it is primarily classed as bullion and therefore you will not find any valuation mark on the coin.
A full sovereign coin is approximately 8g of 22ct yellow gold and measures approx 22mm. The reverse sides of the full sovereign coins again have the image of St George slaying the dragon or can even feature a shield on the earlier more rare coins.
The most common dated full sovereign coins that you are likely to find available here at Pledge Jewellers are:
Queen Elizabeth - 1952 - Present Day
King George - 1910 – 1936
King Edward - 1901 – 1910
Queen Victoria - 1837 – 1901
Since 1871, British sovereigns were struck at branch mints, in addition to the Royal Mint in London.
The first branch mint to strike sovereigns was Sydney in Australia. It made good sense to produce British sovereigns close to the gold mining source areas, rather than ship the gold to London to be made into coin, then possibly ship it back again.
In 1872, the Melbourne mint followed.
The Perth, Australia mint started production of sovereigns in 1899, and the Ottawa mint in Canada started in 1908.
The Bombay mint in India struck sovereigns in just one year, 1918, and the Pretoria mint in South Africa started production in 1923.