The Gold Sovereign from the UK Royal Mint is a popular coin among collectors with a history dating back hundreds of years. The last sixty of those have been under the reign of Queen Elizabeth II who is celebrating her Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
Acknowledging the importance that both coin and Queen hold in Britain, the Royal Mint has issued 2012 UK Proof Gold Sovereigns and 2012 UK Brilliant Uncirculated Gold Sovereigns which feature a new reverse design struck only for the Diamond Jubilee celebration. The Royal Mint is also offering a special 2012 UK Gold Sovereign Five Coin Collection.
Gold Sovereigns were first minted in 1489 under King Henry VII. Despite a two-century absence from 1605 until 1817 as well as periodic lapses since, the Sovereign has proved to be a consistent and popular staple of British coinage. The traditional St. George and dragon design featured on the gold coins by Benedetto Pistrucci is replaced only on special occasions and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee is one of those important events.
Five artists were invited by the Royal Mint to create a new reverse design for the Sovereign as contemporary interpretations of the traditional image. British sculptor Paul Day won the competition with a ferocious dragon succumbing to the attacks of a knight in Gothic armour.
"I have chosen to opt for a Romantic version of the St George and the dragon theme — a medieval knight of Arthurian legend, something quite traditional and true to our culture," states Paul Day, designer of the new reverse featured on the 2012 Gold Sovereigns.
"I have given the dragon a more threatening attitude and size, so that it represents a real menace: its wings have a harp-like quality, in contrast to the realism of the knight and horse, while the lance divides the surface into two."
This design marks the first time Day’s work has been featured on a Royal Mint coin. Queen Elizabeth herself approved of the image to be used on the Diamond Jubilee inspired Sovereign for one year only.
All of the Gold Sovereigns, whether they are proof or brilliant uncirculated and no matter the size, are struck from 22-karat gold — the same level of purity as popular American Gold Eagles from the United States Mint.
The 2012 Gold Sovereign Five Coin Collection includes the Quarter Sovereign, Half Sovereign, Sovereign, Double-Sovereign and a £5 coin.
The £5 coin is produced solely for inclusion in the collection and features a maximum mintage of just 999, like the collection itself. All showcase the new Paul Day design of St. George and dragon and come together in a walnut-veneer case, with an individually numbered Certificate of Authenticity. The Royal Mint lists the five coin set for £4,000.00.
All of the coins also bear the same obverse design, Ian Rank-Broadley’s effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The following chart details coins specifications and current prices.
2012 UK Diamond Jubilee Sovereign Specifications
*The individually sold 2012 UK Gold Proof Quarter Sovereign comes in a deluxe presentation case complete with an informative Certificate of Authenticity numbered up to the Limited Edition Presentation of 6,500.
To place an order or find more information about any of the Gold Sovereigns, visit the Royal Mint website at www.royalmint.com.
About UK Royal Mint
The Royal Mint has a history dating back over 1,000 years. By the late thirteenth century the organization was based in the Tower of London, and remained there for over 500 years. By 1812, the Royal Mint had moved out of the Tower to premises on London’s Tower Hill. In 1967 the building of a new Royal Mint began on its current site in Llantrisant, South Wales.