The Sovereign dates back to the Tudor era, when Henry VII ordered the issue of a large gold coin of 20 shillings. However, the modern Sovereign didn’t come into existence until 1817.
The Sovereign has a long and illustrious history. First struck more than 500 years ago, it remains the world’s oldest coin that is still in production today. Here we chart The Sovereign’s journey from inception, through retirement and revival, to the status it enjoys today as the ‘chief coin of the world’.
To mark the 200th anniversary of the end of George III’s reign, all of the coins in The Sovereign 2020 Collection feature a special mint mark in the form of the king’s royal cypher.
George III was the first monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the last of America. His 59-year reign saw Britain involved in global conflict, political upheaval and an economic revolution.
Benedetto Pistrucci was born in Rome on 29 May 1784. While working in Italy, he gained a reputation as an outstandingly talented gem engraver. His fame spread far and wide and he was invited to come to England by the Prince Regent, the son of George III.
Forced to choose between love and duty, Edward VIII abdicated in December 1936, meaning coinage bearing his portrait never went into circulation. The only pieces produced by The Royal Mint were pattern coins and these were created in extremely limited numbers.