Discover the Coveted Coins of George V

Made for the First Windsor Monarch

Following the death of his father, Edward VII, The Prince of Wales was proclaimed King George V on 6 May 1910. His coronation took place the following year on 22 June 1911 at Westminster Abbey. His reign, which lasted until his death on 20 January 1936, coincided with one of the most tumultuous periods of British history – most notably the First World War.

The king had an active presence during the conflict, making over 450 visits to troops and paying over 300 visits to hospitals to see wounded servicemen. A compassionate monarch, he advocated for merciful treatment of German prisoners-of-war and pushed to treat conscientious objectors with benevolence. As a result of the anti-German sentiment engendered by the war, George V became the first royal of the House of Windsor. He gave up the historic German name of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and adopted the new family name in 1917.

With the conclusion of the war, Britain was left with little relief as the country had acquired significant emotional and financial cost, and the debt owed to the United States provided the catalyst for the end of domestic Sovereign production. Many coins had been melted down and requisitioned to finance the war effort and repay the nation’s outstanding debts. Banknotes had overtaken gold coinage for everyday transactions in Britain but despite The Sovereign ceasing as a circulating coin, it was still struck in limited batches in branch mints around the world – making these Sovereigns coveted collection pieces today.

 

George V Sovereign 1924 Melbourne

In 1924 Sovereigns were manufactured in only three branch mints: Melbourne and Perth in Australia, and in very small numbers in South Africa. This particular Sovereign can be distinguished by its unique mint mark – ‘M’ for Melbourne – placed beneath Benedetto Pistrucci’s classic St George and the dragon design on the reverse. It also features the portrait of George V by Bertram Mackennal on the obverse and has a low mintage, with just over 250,000 struck, making it a sought-after coin.

Marking 25 Years as Monarch

In addition to reigning during the First World War, George V played an influential role in the formation of the National Government. In the wake of the world slump of 1929, he persuaded Ramsay MacDonald, then leader of the Labour party, to head a National Government comprised of all parties which won the election of 1931.

George V also started the annual Christmas Broadcast in 1932, which is still transmitted each year and watched eagerly by families all over Britain and across the Commonwealth.

In the year before his death, George V celebrated his Silver Jubilee. It was an occasion met with regal and public celebration, and was also commemorated with a special coin design from The Royal Mint.

1935 George V Crown

Crowns were issued regularly during the reign of George V but in 1935 a special design was released to commemorate his 25th year on the throne, his Silver Jubilee. Created by Percy Metcalfe and known as the ‘rocking horse’ design due to its modern interpretation of St George slaying the dragon, it was used for that year only. The edge inscription reads ‘DECUS ET TUTAMEN ANNO REGNI XXV’, which means: An ornament and a safeguard 25 years of reign.

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