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Detailed information about coin type: Sovereign (1838 - 1971) from United Kingdom:

Coin type: Sovereign (1838 - 1971)

In 1889 and 1890 Orders in Council were made permitting members of the general public to hand in any gold coins that were underweight and have them replaced by full-weight coins. A proclamation was subsequently issued in November 1890 that any gold coin struck before 1837 would cease to be legal tender with effect from 28 February 1891.

On 15 February 1971, known as Decimal Day, the United Kingdom decimalised its currency. While gold sovereign coins continued to be produced exactly as before, they were now legally equal to 1 Pound Sterling of the new, decimal currency; so, technically speaking, a post-1971 gold sovereign (while identical in any other respect but the date to its predecessors) is a new type of coin.

CountryUnited Kingdom CurrencyPound Sterling (pre-decimal)
Sub-type ofSovereign (Pre-Decimal) Sub-types
Face value1 (x Pound)
Years produced1838 - 1971 CurrentNo
MaterialGold DesignerBenedetto Pistrucci
Production technologyMilled (machine-made) ShapeRound
Size (mm)22.0500 Thickness (mm)1.5200
Mass (g)7.9800

Reigning British monarch, legend in Latin.

Obverse inscription


The initial reverse type for gold coins was the shield and crown motif, supplemented on the sovereign with a heraldic wreath. This was later succeeded by a portrayal of Saint George killing a dragon, engraved by Benedetto Pistrucci. In later years, sometimes both designs were produced in the same year and sometimes only one.

Reverse inscription

EdgeMilled Edge inscription