Half Sovereign 2020 The Three Graces, Coin from Alderney - detailed information

Half Sovereign 2020 The Three Graces, Coin from Alderney
CoinHalf Sovereign 2020 The Three Graces

The sovereign is a gold coin of the United Kingdom, with a nominal value of one pound sterling. Struck from 1817 until the present time, it was originally a circulating coin (see pre-decimal Sovereign) accepted in Britain and elsewhere in the world; it is now a bullion coin not intended for circulation, the intrinsic value of which is much higher than its face value. There are several denominations of the Sovereign: Five Sovereigns (Quintuple Sovereign, five pounds gold), Double Sovereign, Full Sovereign, Half Sovereign and Quarter Sovereign; the current sovereign - with face value of 50 pence is a continuation of the pre-decimal half sovereign, and has been issued as a decimal coin since 1980.

Apart from the sovereigns of the United Kingdom, the British Crown dependency of Alderney has also authorised some mints to issue half sovereigns under its jurisdiction. These are denominated in Alderney Pounds - the local variation of the Pound Sterling. There is a long-standing tradition in the United Kingdom that this type of coin does not have its value and denomination spelled out on the coin; this is not, however, the case with Alderney sovereigns - which have the face value written on them.

This coin is a modern re-issue of the reverse design of The Three Graces pattern crown. Created by the renowned engraver William Wyon early in his decorated career with the Royal Mint, the original coin was a pattern made in 1817 for a Crown denomination produced late in the reign of King George III; it was never circulated but has earned a reputation for its attractive and symbolic reverse. The art world that Wyon was establishing himself in was dominated by neoclassicism. Its proponents were influenced by stories of Ancient Greece and Rome and the simple, symmetrical style they saw in artefacts, engravings and on their Grand Tours of Europe.

William Wyon is undoubtedly one of history’s greatest coin designers. Born in England in 1795, his father was an engraver of medals and coins, his uncle a die engraver, and his cousin Thomas was Chief Engraver of The Royal Mint from 1815 until his untimely death in 1817. So it was perhaps inevitable that young William would pursue a career in the coin industry too. As a 22-year-old Assistant Engraver he created his neoclassical masterpiece: The Three Graces. While it never went into production, around 50 test "Pattern Pieces" were produced which became collectors’ items as Wyon’s reputation grew. His "Young Head" portrait of Queen Victoria graced the coins of her reign for nearly 50 years, while his "Una and The Lion" remains a favourite of collectors to this day.

MintCommonwealth Mint Mint MarkNo mint mark Total Mintage500
Obverse
Alderney / Half Sovereign 2020 The Three Graces - obverse photo

The obverse features the crowned mature effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by Joel Iskowitz. The Queen faces right, and wears the Royal Diamond Diadem crown worn for her Coronation, pearl earrings and a necklace.

The designer's initials JI are incuse on the Queen's shoulder.

Around above, the monarch's legend and the face value: ELIZABETH II · HALF SOVEREIGN · ALDERNEY C. I. (Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen, Alderney Channel Islands).

Below, the date of issue 2020.

Obverse Inscription ELIZABETH II · HALF SOVEREIGN · ALDERNEY C. I 2020
Reverse
Alderney / Half Sovereign 2020 The Three Graces - reverse photo

Within a beaded border, the reverse features, from left to right, the female representations of Ireland, England and Scotland. They are identified by the implements at their feet - respectively a harp, a shield bearing the cross of St George and an oversized thistle; additionally, the also carry floral symbols in their crowns: shamrocks, roses and more thistles. The engraver's name W. WYON. is to the left of the harp.

England, (or maybe Britannia), is perhaps the elder sister, standing taller than the other women who look at her with affection. This is an idealised representation of the union between the three nations, formed as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801. Wales is not represented here, but then that would have disrupted the neat parallel with the three charities of Greek mythology.

The design owes much to Antonio Canova's famous statue, The Three Graces - hence the coin's nickname; however, the figures in the statue are naked while those on the coin are fully dressed, in Classical style.

The inscription around above, interrupted by the figures, reads FOEDUS INVIOLABILE (Inviolable League).

In the exergue, a crossed palm frond and a ship's rudder. The palm frond symbolises both victory - reminding of the recent victory at Waterloo - and peace. The ship's rudder is a symbol of the British maritime might.

Reverse Inscription FOEDUS INVIOLABILE
EdgeMilledEdge InscriptionNone
Notes

Finish: proof.

Issued in Set
Three Graces Gold Proof Three Coin Sovereign Set, mintage 500
3 coins: Full Sovereign 2020 The Three Graces, Half Sovereign 2020 The Three Graces, Quarter Sovereign 2020 The Three Graces
See also

Coins featuring The Three Graces include:
- Crown Pattern 1817 The Three Graces (the original issue)
- 5 kg Gold, The Three Graces, United Kingdom 2020
- 3 kg Gold, The Three Graces, United Kingdom 2020
- 2 kg Gold, The Three Graces, United Kingdom 2020
- 1 kg Gold, The Three Graces, United Kingdom 2020
- 10 oz Gold, The Three Graces, United Kingdom 2021
- 5 oz Gold, The Three Graces, United Kingdom 2020
- 5 oz Gold, The Three Graces, Alderney 2020
- 5 oz Gold, The Three Graces, Saint Helena 2021
- 2 oz Gold, The Three Graces, United Kingdom 2020
- 2 oz Gold, The Three Graces, Saint Helena 2021
- Gold Crown, The Three Graces, Saint Helena 2021
- Five Pounds Gold, The Three Graces, Alderney 2020
- 1 oz Gold, The Three Graces, Saint Helena 2021
- Sovereign,The Three Graces, Alderney 2020
- Half Sovereign,The Three Graces, Alderney 2020
- Quarter Sovereign ,The Three Graces, Alderney 2020
- 2 kg Silver, The Three Graces, United Kingdom 2020
- 1 kg Silver, The Three Graces, United Kingdom 2020
- 1 kg Silver, The Three Graces, Alderney 2020
- 1 kg Silver, The Three Graces, Saint Helena 2021
- 10 oz Silver, The Three Graces, United Kingdom 2020
- 5 oz Silver, The Three Graces, United Kingdom 2020
- 5 oz Silver, The Three Graces, Alderney 2020
- 5 oz Silver, The Three Graces, Saint Helena 2021
- 2 oz Silver, The Three Graces, United Kingdom 2020
- 2 oz Silver, The Three Graces, Alderney 2020
- 2 oz Silver, The Three Graces, Saint Helena 2021
- 1 oz Silver, The Three Graces, Saint Helena 2021
- Silver Crown, The Three Graces, Saint Helena 2021
- £5 Wedgwood Jasperware (Ceramic), The Three Graces, Tristan da Cunha 2018

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Half Sovereign 2020 The Three Graces: Details
CountryAlderney
CurrencyAlderney Pound
Coin TypeHalf Sovereign
Issued2020
MonarchQueen Elizabeth II
EffigyQueen Elizabeth II - Portrait by Joel Iskowitz
Face Value1/2 (x Pound)
Total Mintage500
CurrentYes
Material0.9167 Gold
DesignerWilliam Wyon
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
OrientationMedal Alignment (Axis 0)
Size19.300 mm
Mass4.000 g
OCC IDRNAZ-OGWC-BLRB-OXJL
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Half Sovereign 2020 The Three Graces: Photos
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Alderney Half Sovereign 2020 The Three Graces
Copyright: Heritage Auctions
Source
Alderney Half Sovereign 2020 The Three Graces
Copyright: Heritage Auctions
Source