The Sovereign Reverse Designs

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The Sovereign Reverse Designs

The Sovereign has its origins in the Tudor era, when a large gold coin of 20 shillings called a Sovereign was first issued during the reign of Henry VII. However, the modern Sovereign was confirmed as currency by Royal Proclamation on 1 July 1817. It featured a new reverse design by Italian engraver and medallist, Benedetto Pistrucci, which depicted St George and the dragon and was deliberately intended to make the coin as distinctive as possible. This beautiful, classic design remains on gold Sovereigns today and is considered to be one of the world’s most widely recognised coins. In 200 years, the reverse has rarely changed, with only a handful of designs appearing on The Sovereign since 1817.

2017 Sovereign 

2017 Sovereign reverse

The Sovereign is the epitome of quality and beauty; with a reputation as ‘the chief coin of the world’. Its story may be more than five centuries old, but two centuries ago the gold coin set new standards for accuracy that defined a currency. In 2017 we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the design created by Benedetto Pistrucci that has endured for two centuries.

Designed by Benedetto Pistrucci

Click here to browse The Sovereign 2017 range

2012 sovereign reverse design

2012 Sovereign Reverse – The Diamond Jubilee Sovereign

2012 was the year of Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and to commemorate this special occasion a new St George and the dragon reverse was commissioned. It was designed by Paul Day and features a new depiction of St George and the dragon - a story that has been told on The Sovereign for almost 200 years.

Designed by Paul Day

2005 sovereign reverse design

2005 Sovereign Reverse – A new St George

In 2005, a new reverse design was introduced onThe Sovereign. It was designed by Timothy Noad and is a modern interpretation of St George and the dragon.

Designed by Timothy Noad

2002 sovereign reverse design

2002 Sovereign Reverse – The Golden Jubilee Sovereign

2002 marked the 50th anniversary, more commonly known as the Golden Jubilee, of Her Majesty The Queen’s accession to the throne. To mark the occasion, a new reverse design, featuring the shield of the Royal Arms, was struck on The Sovereign. The design is reminiscent of the 1838 reverse struck during Queen Victoria’s reign.

Designed by Timothy Noad

Click here to purchase a 2002 Sovereign

1989 sovereign reverse design

1989 Sovereign Reverse – 500th Anniversary of the Sovereign

In 1989, The Sovereign celebrated its 500th anniversary, having been commissioned on 28 October 1489 by King Henry VII. The reverse design shows a crowned shield of the Royal Arms on a double Tudor rose, reminiscent of the hammered Sovereigns of Henry VII.

Designed by Bernard Sindall

Click here to purchase a 1989 Sovereign

1871 sovereign reverse design

1871 Sovereign Reverse – St George returns

Having been a consistent feature of The Sovereign since 1817, the St George and the dragon design was replaced in 1830 in favour of the shield reverse and did not return until 1871, 40 years later, during the reign of Queen Victoria.

Designed by Benedetto Pistrucci

1838 sovereign reverse design

1838 Sovereign Reverse – Victoria Shield

Queen Victoria came to the throne on 20 June 1837. Her coronation didn’t take place until 28 June 1838 and as a result, the first Sovereigns of Queen Victoria’s reign were produced in 1838. Sovereigns featuring both the crowned shield of the Royal Arms and the St George and the dragon design were struck in the United Kingdom during Queen Victoria’s reign.

Designed by Jean Baptiste Merlen

1830 sovereign reverse design

1830 Sovereign Reverse – William IV Shield

William IV ascended to the throne on 26 June 1830 and the circulating coinage of his reign was introduced during the following year. He is the only Monarch not to use Benedetto Pistrucci's St George and the dragon design on the reverse of The Sovereign. Instead, William IV used the crowned shield of the Royal Arms design for the reverse of The Sovereign during his reign, until his death on 20 June 1837.

Designed by Jean Baptiste Merlen

1825 sovereign reverse design

1825 Sovereign Reverse – George IV crowned shield of the Royal Arms

The crowned shield of the Royal Arms was the second reverse design to be issued during George IV’s reign. It was introduced in 1825 following the King’s commission of a complete redesign of his coinage in 1823.

Designed by Jean Baptiste Merlen

1821 sovereign reverse design

1821 Sovereign Reverse – A remodelled St George and the dragon

In 1821, The Sovereign was remodelled and the words, “HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE,” that feature on the first issue of the design were removed and a larger, more detailed, depiction of St George and the dragon featured – with St George now holding the sword ‘Ascalon’ as opposed to the broken spear.

Designed by Benedetto Pistrucci

1817 sovereign reverse design

1817 Sovereign Reverse – The first appearance of St George and the dragon

Benedetto Pistrucci's St George and the dragon design first appeared on the modern gold Sovereign in 1817. Its design was deliberately intended to make the coin as distinctive as possible and it was Pistrucci himself who suggested St George and the dragon as the theme. The design was first introduced in 1817 and still features on The Sovereign in 2015. The words, "HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE," meaning "Evil unto him who thinks evil of it," feature around the design, words which also feature on the Order of the Garter and Royal Coat of Arms.

Designed by Benedetto Pistrucci

 
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