Precious Metals

Royal Mint Museum Curator Kevin Clancy authors UK sovereign book

Kevin Clancy has authored a book exploring A History of the Sovereign: Chief Coin of the World.

Image courtesy of Ray Wilder

The gold sovereign is the quintessential British coin.

A book by Kevin Clancy, director of the Royal Mint Museum, presents A History of the Sovereign: Chief Coin of the World.

Clancy, a leading expert on British coinage, recalls the history, manufacture and design of the Royal Mint’s flagship coin. 

Clancy “brings the story of the sovereign to life in his authoritative book, and offers a fresh perspective on the rich 500-year history of this remarkable gold coin,” according to the Royal Mint. 

Including a wealth of images, this book offers an account of the history of the sovereign and its role in trade, politics and the spread of Britain’s influence throughout the world. Clancy provides insight into how the sovereign was used and explores the role of money in people’s lives and its place in British culture. 

Before the sovereign debuted in 1489 under the Tudor reign of Henry VII, various gold coins existed in England, which Clancy details before delving full-bore into the sovereign.

The sovereign as a modern coin first appeared in 1817, bearing the now familiar St. George Slaying the Dragon design crafted by the Italian engraver, Benedetto Pistrucci. 

Special issues like the 1839 Una and the Lion 5-sovereign coin, are included in the narrative, which continues to the present-day issues, in post-decimalization Britain. 

The full-color illustrated book is published at £25. To order the book, visit the Royal Mint website,

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