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 Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha has also authorised some mints to issue half sovereigns under its jurisdiction. These are denominated in Saint Helena Pounds - the local variation of the Pound Sterling. Following long-standing tradition, this type of coin has never had its value and denomination spelled out anywhere on the coin.
The Mint says about this coin:
The 2022 Half Sovereign Gold Proof Coin honours the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In 2022 she became the first British monarch to mark 70 years on the throne.
In honour of her Platinum Jubilee, our 2022 Sovereign Collection features the heraldic symbols that form Her Majesty’s official coat of arms. The 2022 Half Sovereign features the Unicorn of Scotland, believed to symbolise bravery, innocence and intelligence. Before the 1603 Act of Union the Scottish coat of arms featured two unicorns, but when James I became king of both Scotland and England, one unicorn was replaced by the English lion.
The Sovereign is one of the world’s most famous coins with a history stretching back over 500 years. First introduced in the late 15th Century when King Henry VII demanded a "new money of gold" to demonstrate the power of his reign, the Sovereign was a favourite of Tudor monarchs until its minting came to an end during the reign of James I. Some 200 years later, Britain found itself in an economic crisis that led to the Great Recoinage of 1816, and the re-introduction of the Sovereign to replace the Guinea. The design for the new "Modern Sovereign" was created by the great Benedetto Pistrucci, whose dynamic image of St George slaying the dragon became the "standard" Sovereign design. It has featured on almost all annual Sovereign releases since its introduction in 1817, only changed on rare occasions and generally only for significant royal events or anniversaries. Now, to honour Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, East India Company Collections is proud to introduce the 2022 Gold Proof Sovereign Collection, featuring a new heraldic design to mark this historic milestone.
The obverse of the coin depicts the crowned old bust of Queen Elizabeth II facing right, wearing the Royal Diamond Diadem crown worn for her Coronation (effigy known as the "Fifth Portrait" worldwide but "Sixth Portrait" in Australia, where the Queen's portrait by Vladimir Gottwald was fifth).
The Queen also wears the Coronation Necklace; originally made for Queen Victoria in 1858, it was also worn at the coronations (as Queen's Consort) of Queen Alexandra in 1902, Queen Mary in 1911 and Queen Elizabeth (the Queen mother) in 1937.
Unlike on British coinage, the effigy is "uncouped" (includes the Queen's shoulders). In small letters on the left, the artist's initials JC (for Jody Clark).
Running continuously around the rim is the monarch's legend, the date of issue and the face value: ELIZABETH II · DEI · GRA · REGINA · F · D · ST. HELENA · 2022 ·. Translated from Latin: Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen, Defender of the Faith, Saint Helena.
In the right field below is the EIC mint mark of the East India Company; the letters are separated by arrows radiating from the centre around which they are situated.
The reverse design of the coin depicts the Unicorn of Scotland, which is one of the supporters of the Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom. The unicorn is chained and has the Crown of Saint Edward around its neck.
On the left, part of the shield is visible, with the upper right quadrant with the lion of Scotland, below which the lower right quadrant with the three lions of England. Part of the Order of the Garter is also visible, with a small fraction of the motto HONI · SOIT · QUI · MAL · Y · PENSE · - translated from Medieval French, "May he be shamed who thinks badly of it" - an old motto of the British monarchs.
In the rim around above, another motto of the British monarchs: DIEU ET · MON · DROIT; it is also in French, and means "God, and my right".