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The Sovereign

The Mark of Distinction

A Celebration of 65 Years

The striking of mint marks is a tradition that often indicates prestige. The practice involves a small mark being struck on the coin’s surface to help identify its provenance. It could refer to the origin of the metal used to strike the coin, the mint at which the coin was struck, or it could commemorate a special occasion.

The celebratory mint mark that features on all coins in The Sovereign 2018 Collection was skilfully created by Royal Mint coin designers Natasha Preece and Joseph Melia. Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II, is the first British monarch to mark more than 65 years of service, making the addition of this particular mint mark to celebrate this achievement a minting first.


Size, style and placement had to be carefully considered to make sure the mark could be struck alongside Benedetto Pistrucci’s classic interpretation of St George and the dragon. After several iterations, the final design chosen represents the royal cypher crown with the numbers ‘65’ to mark the celebration of the 65th anniversary of Her Majesty’s coronation.

The crown is a classic symbol of royalty and makes a fitting choice for this historic moment in British royal history.

“The real challenge was working on such a small scale. We had to make sure that the fine detail of the crown and ‘65’ of the mint mark wasn’t lost when it was struck on the coin.”

Natasha Preece

Reign Supreme

Her Majesty The Queen, now the world’s longest reigning living monarch, is the first British monarch to mark more than 65 years of service. From a young queen and a fairy-tale coronation, to a pillar of strength in an ever-changing world, we have shared 65 years with Her Majesty.

“As this day draws to its close, I know that my abiding memory of it will be, not only the solemnity and beauty of the ceremony, but the inspiration of your loyalty and affection.”

From The Queen’s Coronation speech, 2 June 1953

Princess Elizabeth became queen in 1952, when her father George VI died. The official coronation ceremony took place more than a year later, after the customary period of mourning. The event was a grand affair, held in Westminster Abbey and surrounded by all the pageantry that you would expect from a British coronation in an ever-changing world, we have shared 65 years with Her Majesty.

However, it has been The Queen’s unwavering commitment to her role and down-to-earth attitude that has won the admiration of the nation through the years. In her time as queen, Her Majesty has marked the silver, gold, diamond and in 2017, sapphire jubilees of her reign; the nation has celebrated with her each time.

At The Royal Mint we have struck every official United Kingdom coin of Her Majesty’s reign, including the coins that commemorated her coronation and jubilees. Now as we come together for another landmark event, the 65th anniversary of her coronation, we are celebrating with a mint mark on The Sovereign, the coin of the monarch.


The Sovereign

The Mark of Distinction


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Branch Mint Marks

Some of the most famous mint marks can be found on war-time editions of The Sovereign.

In 1918, during the First World War, The Sovereign was no longer used as day-to-day currency in the United Kingdom, but production continued in branch mints across the globe. Striking coins near gold sources removed the time, risk and cost of shipping the metal to London to convert into Sovereigns. A small mint mark, distinctive to each branch mint, was incorporated into the reverse design to help identify the origin of a particular Sovereign.

These special identifying marks make The Sovereign even more desirable. In modern times, The Sovereign is only struck by The Royal Mint at its home in Llantrisant, and mint marks are now a rare addition to the famous coin.

Mint marks have also featured on other famous coins. Please see below some examples:  



Guineas bearing the marks ‘VIGO’ and ‘LIMA’ refer to the battle of Vigo Bay, when precious metal was captured from two Spanish and French treasure ships and was later melted down and used to strike coins.




The guinea has featured a variety of marks, the most common was the elephant, or elephant and castle, the mark of the Africa Company that supplied gold to The Royal Mint.




In the early twentieth century, five branch mints were established near gold sources around the globe. A small mint mark, distinctive to each branch mint, was incorporated into the reverse design of The Sovereign.


The Sovereign of the new Elizabethan Age

Elizabeth II was officially proclaimed queen following the death of her father George VI in February 1952. However, she was not crowned until 2 June 1953, as it is traditional for the official coronation ceremony to take place after a time of mourning.

Thousands of people lined the streets to catch a glimpse of their young queen, while millions more watched the ceremony on television. It was at this time that The Sovereign coin made a welcome return, with The Royal Mint marking the historic occasion by striking a handful of Sovereign Proof sets. One of these commemorative sets was given to the Royal Collection.

This special striking heralded the return of The Sovereign coin. It was at this time that the highly-regarded gold coin was also struck as bullion, becoming the flagship coin of The Royal Mint, famous across the world as a symbol of quality, accuracy and a masterpiece of design. It was for this reason that The Sovereign was stockpiled as an emergency ransom fund by the military during the 1950s, in case of war in the Middle East.

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