Gold coin; Denomination: Sovereign
Royal Mint, London
King George III (1760-1820)

The sovereign was introduced in 1817 as part of a re-coinage at the end of the Napoleonic wars. From 1816 the silver coins no longer contained their intrinsic value of silver they are therefore termed a "token coinage". The gold content of the sovereign was however retained at full metal value.

The sovereign was a 20 shilling or 1 pound coin and was struck at the same standard, 22 carats, as the guinea it replaced. As the guinea was current at 21 shillings and the sovereign at 20, the weight of the sovereign was fixed at 20/21 that of the guinea. This gave the sovereign the the standard weight of 123 274/1000th grains.

The coins were struck in the new Royal Mint building on Tower Hill with steam powered presses supplied by Messrs Boulton, Watt and Rennie. The reverse design of St. George and the dragon was developed by Benedetto Pistrucci.

Obverse Description

Laureate head of George III facing right above the date, 1817; around, GEORGIUS III D G BRITANNIAR REX F D

Reverse Description

St. George on horseback to right, wearing helmet and cape and holding a broken lance, above fallen dragon; around, the Garter with motto HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE

Edge Description


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