World Coins

UK coins celebrate anniversary of gold standard

Proof .9999 gold 1-ounce and quarter-ounce coins commemorate Britain’s 200th anniversary of adopting the gold standard in 1821. A two-coin set offers a quarter-ounce coin and a 1931 sovereign from the year Britain abandoned the gold standard.

Images courtesy of the Royal Mint.

A 2021 commemorative design to mark the 200th anniversary of the first formal gold standard and celebrate its place in financial history is available from the Royal Mint in 1-ounce and quarter-ounce versions.

Finished to Proof standard, the Gold Standard .9999 fine gold commemorative coins feature an original design by Dominique Evans, partially inspired by her grandfather’s set of banking scales.

The reverse design depicts scales and compass points, reflecting the balance and precision of the standard and the nearly worldwide quest to maintain economic equilibrium. The obverse uses the Jody Clark effigy of Queen Elizabeth II.

The gold standard concept was linked to the mind of Sir Isaac Newton, former master of the Mint, who issued a report in 1717 that led to the gold guinea being assigned a fixed value. Following the Coinage Act of 1816, Britain’s gold standard was adopted, the first system of its type in the world. It was written into law in 1821.

Several powerhouse economies followed the British lead, including Canada, the United States and Germany. Backed by the newly revived sovereign, it became a global monetary system, until World War I drove gold coins out of circulation. As chancellor of the Exchequer, Winston Churchill returned Britain to a gold standard in 1925 but it was abandoned altogether in 1931 as economic pressures mounted.

The single 1-ounce .9999 fine gold £100 coin is a limited edition of 250 coins (from a mintage of 260). It measures 32.69 millimeters in diameter, weighs 31.21 grams and is priced at £2,440.

Of the quarter-ounce .9999 fine gold £25 coin, 500 single coins are offered, from a mintage of 910 coins. It is 22 millimeters in diameter, weighs 7.8 grams, and is priced at £650.

An anniversary set pairs the Proof £25 commemorative with a 1931 sovereign, from the year the system ended in Britain. The set’s sovereign composition is .917 fine gold; it is in Very Fine condition, weighs 7.98 grams and measures 22.05 millimeters. It carries Bertram Mackennal’s obverse effigy of George V and Benedetto Pistrucci’s reverse of St. George and the Dragon. Priced at £1,250 each, 300 sets are offered.

For more information, visit the Royal Mint at

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