World Coins

Royal Mint launches anniversary sovereigns for 2017

The bullion version of the 2017 sovereign features a reverse design unadorned with the ornamentation of the 2017 Proof version, but bearing instead a 200-year celebratory privy mark.

Image courtesy of the Royal Mint.

Editor's note: this is the final part of a story about the British gold sovereign, which celebrates a milestone anniversary in 2017. Senior Editor Jeff Starck's story about the coin and its history appears in the January 2017 monthly Coin World

The Royal Mint celebrated the 500th anniversary of the denomination in 1989 with a special design. 

The obverse shows Queen Elizabeth II seated, facing, on a throne. The reverse design mirrors its 500-year-old original counterpart, bearing the Royal Arms surmounted on a crowned double Tudor rose.

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Fifteen different monarchs or special designs have been featured on the sovereign since 1817, and collectors can pursue coins from more than six mints in building a sovereign collection.

Current sovereigns feature the Jody Clark effigy of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse and continue to feature the Pistrucci design on the reverse. 

To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the modern sovereign, the Royal Mint added a privy mark on the reverse of the bullion sovereign and half-sovereign, placed beneath the dragon. The privy mark includes the number 200 above what resembles a cross-and-shield design.

The bullion coins have unlimited mintage, and are available singly or in rolls of 25 coins, direct from the Royal Mint’s trading website,

The 2017 quarter-, half-, sovereign, double-sovereign and 5-sovereign coins are offered as limited mintage Proof versions at premiums far above their metal value.

The Proof coins were struck with tools remastered from Pistrucci’s originals, according to the Royal Mint, with the original “Garter” design, last used in 1820. Ornamentation includes the French inscription HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE’ meaning “May he be shamed who thinks badly of it.” The phrase has appeared on the coat of the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom for centuries.

In addition, the 2017 coin’s date appears on the obverse for the first time since 1887. 

Proof quarter-sovereign, half-sovereign and sovereign coins are available individually or as part of multi-coin sets, while the double- and 5-sovereign coins are available only in multicoin sets. 

Full details of the 2017 sovereign coins are available at the Royal Mint website.

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