Home / Coins by Country / Coins from United Kingdom / Sovereign 1820

Detailed information about Coin: Sovereign 1820 from United Kingdom

Coin: Sovereign 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.

CountryUnited Kingdom CurrencyPound Sterling (pre-decimal)
Face value1 (x Pound) TypeSovereign (pre-Victorian)
Year1820 CurrentNo (demonetised 1891)
Mintage931,994 (931994) RarityS (Scarce)
NameMint markMintage
Royal Mint No mint mark 931,994 (931994), Rarity: S (Scarce)
MaterialGold DesignerBenedetto Pistrucci
MonarchKing George III EffigyPortrait by Benedetto Pistrucci (Laureate Head)
Production technologyMilled (machine-made) ShapeRound
Size (mm)22.0500 Thickness (mm)1.5200
Mass (g)7.9800

Laureate head of King George III facing right with short hair; the tie has a loop with two ends; the neck is bare. Around, the monarch's legend GEORGIUS III D: G: BRITANNIAR: REX F: D: (George the Third, by the Grace of God, King of the Britains, Defender of the Faith). Below, the date 1820.

Obverse inscription GEORGIUS III D: G: BRITANNIAR: REX F: D: 1820

St. George on horseback to right, wearing helmet with a flowing streamer and cape, holding a broken lance, above fallen dragon; around, the Garter inscribed with motto HONI · SOIT · QUI · MAL · Y · PENSE · (May he be shamed who thinks badly of it).

Reverse inscriptionHONI · SOIT · QUI · MAL · Y · PENSE ·
EdgeMilled Edge inscriptionNone

The "ordinary" (not listed as a variety) coins are described by Spink as "open 2, alignment of date varies".

Marsh lists the mintage as 2,101,994 explaining that during the first year of George IV's reign, the dies for 1820 were still used.

References to additional information:

[Book] Remick, Jerome. The Guide Book and Catalogue to British Commonwealth Coins, Regency Coins and Stamps Ltd, Winnipeg, Canada, 1971, p257
[Book] Marsh, Michael A. The Gold Sovereign. Cambridge Coins, Cambridge, UK, 1980. (2017 ed. pp 10-12)

Sovereign 1820: Known varieties
Larger date, 8 and 2 nearly touch (Marsh 4D) None (included in main number), Rarity: R2 (Very Rare)
Proof FDC, thin date (Marsh 4E) unknown, Rarity: R4 (15 to 25 examples known)
Roman I in date (Marsh 4C) unknown (included in main number), Rarity: R3 (Extremely Rare) (hover mouse for text)
Short date height, alignment varies (Marsh 4A) unknown (included in main number), Rarity: R3 (Extremely Rare)
Closed 2 alignment of date (Marsh 4B) unknown (included in main number), Rarity: R (Rare)
Sovereign 1820: Photos
Sovereign 1820: Photo Coin - Sovereign, George III, Great Britain, 1820
Coin - Sovereign, George III, Great Britain, 1820
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Sovereign 1820: Photo Coin - Sovereign, George III, Great Britain, 1820
Coin - Sovereign, George III, Great Britain, 1820
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Sovereign 1820: Photo Great Britain 1820 sovereign
Great Britain 1820 sovereign
Copyright: CoinFactsWiki / CC BY-SA
Sovereign 1820: Catalogue Reference IDs
SourceReference ID
Marsh, The Gold Sovereign4, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E
Friedberg, Gold Coins of the WorldGreat Britain 230
Krause, Standard Catalog of World CoinsGreat Britain KM# 674
Spink, Coins of England and the United Kingdom3785C
Sovereign 1820: References to Information Used
Museums Victoria Collections 2016 Coin description link
Remick, Catalogue of British Commonwealth Coins 1971 Mint
Remick, Catalogue of British Commonwealth Coins 1971 Mintage
Marsh, The Gold Sovereign 1980 Varieties
Sovereign 1820: Links to sites that (may) sell similar coins
Gold Sovereigns: 1820 George III Gold Sovereigns
Sovereign 1820: Some useful external links
George III 1820 Gold Sovereigns Information Great Britain 1820 sovereign - CoinFactsWiki
Museums Victoria: Coin - Sovereign, George III, Great Britain, 1820
UK coin dealer supplying high quality and carefully graded antique coins to the discerning collector
UK coin dealer supplying high quality and carefully graded antique coins to the discerning collector
List of all (149) coins of type: United Kingdom / Sovereign (Pre-Decimal)
Sovereign 1817 Sovereign 1818 Sovereign 1819 Sovereign 1820 Sovereign 1821 Sovereign 1822
Sovereign 1823 Sovereign 1824 St George Sovereign 1824 Shield (Pattern) Sovereign 1825 St George Sovereign 1825 Shield Sovereign 1826
Sovereign 1827 Sovereign 1828 Sovereign 1829 Sovereign 1830 George IV Sovereign 1830 William IV Sovereign 1831
Sovereign 1832 Sovereign 1833 Sovereign 1835 Sovereign 1836 Sovereign 1837 William IV Sovereign 1837 Victoria
Sovereign 1838 Sovereign 1839 Sovereign 1841 Sovereign 1842 Sovereign 1843 Sovereign 1844
Sovereign 1845 Sovereign 1846 Sovereign 1847 Sovereign 1848 Sovereign 1849 Sovereign 1850
Sovereign 1851 Sovereign 1852 Sovereign 1853 Sovereign 1854 Sovereign 1855 Sovereign 1856
Sovereign 1857 Sovereign 1858 Sovereign 1859 Sovereign 1860 Sovereign 1861 Sovereign 1862
Sovereign 1863 Sovereign 1864 Sovereign 1865 Sovereign 1866 Sovereign 1868 Sovereign 1869
Sovereign 1870 Sovereign 1871 Shield Sovereign 1871 St George Sovereign 1872 Shield Sovereign 1872 St George Sovereign 1873 Shield
Sovereign 1873 St George Sovereign 1874 Shield Sovereign 1874 St George Sovereign 1875 Shield Sovereign 1875 St George Sovereign 1876 Shield
Sovereign 1876 St George Sovereign 1877 Shield Sovereign 1877 St George Sovereign 1878 Shield Sovereign 1878 St George Sovereign 1879 Shield
Sovereign 1879 St George Sovereign 1880 Shield Sovereign 1880 St George Sovereign 1881 Shield Sovereign 1881 St George Sovereign 1882 Shield
Sovereign 1882 St George Sovereign 1883 Shield Sovereign 1883 St George Sovereign 1884 Shield Sovereign 1884 St George Sovereign 1885 Shield
Sovereign 1885 St George Sovereign 1886 Shield Sovereign 1886 St George Sovereign 1887 Shield Sovereign 1887 St George, Young head Sovereign 1887 St George, Jubilee head
Sovereign 1888 Sovereign 1889 Sovereign 1890 Sovereign 1891 Sovereign 1892 Sovereign 1893 Veiled head
Sovereign 1893 Jubilee head Sovereign 1894 Sovereign 1895 Sovereign 1896 Sovereign 1897 Sovereign 1898
Sovereign 1899 Sovereign 1900 Sovereign 1901 Sovereign 1902 Sovereign 1903 Sovereign 1904
Sovereign 1905 Sovereign 1906 Sovereign 1907 Sovereign 1908 Sovereign 1909 Sovereign 1910
Sovereign 1911 Sovereign 1912 Sovereign 1913 Sovereign 1914 Sovereign 1915 Sovereign 1916
Sovereign 1917 Sovereign 1918 Sovereign 1919 Sovereign 1920 Sovereign 1921 Sovereign 1922
Sovereign 1923 Sovereign 1924 Sovereign 1925 Sovereign 1926 Sovereign 1927 Sovereign 1928
Sovereign 1929 Sovereign 1930 Sovereign 1931 Sovereign 1932 Sovereign 1937 Edward VIII (not released) Sovereign 1937 (Proof only)
Sovereign 1953 (not released) Sovereign 1957 Sovereign 1958 Sovereign 1959 Sovereign 1962 Sovereign 1963
Sovereign 1964 Sovereign 1965 Sovereign 1966 Sovereign 1967 Sovereign 1968