The History of Sovereigns

An Edward VII gold sovereign dated 1908 Sold November 2017 £200

It was during Henry VII’s reign that the very first gold Sovereign was created on 28th October 1489. Though this wasn’t the first gold coin to be minted in Britain, as they had been in circulation for hundreds of years, it was the most valuable and largest of its time.

An Elizabeth II gold sovereign, set into a 9ct yellow gold gate bracelet, total weight approximately 27.5 grams. Sold for £320 at Anthemion Auctions
Sold for £320 at Anthemion Auctions

This began the portrayal of monarchs on the face of the coin as Henry VII’s portrait was depicted on the obverse of this first sovereign with the Royal arms featured on the reverse.  Over time the design of the sovereign changed in terms of weight and diameter and reflecting the particular reigning monarch. 

In 1817 a sovereign was crafted featuring an image of St George and the dragon that had been designed by one of the most celebrated gem engravers in the world, Benedetto Pistrucci. This particular design has appeared on the Sovereigns of every monarch since Victoria’s reign apart from five special occasions including Her Majesty The Queen’s Golden Jubilee year in 2002 and the 200th anniversary of the modern Sovereign itself in 2017.  Pistrucci’s St George and the dragon therefore continues to reign supreme in the gold Sovereign family, representing the highest standards of the coin maker’s art.  Each has been produced using the original master tools, meaning they truly display Pistrucci’s dynamic masterpiece in all its original glory.