Home / Coins by Country / Coins from United Kingdom / Sovereign 1817

Detailed information about Coin: Sovereign 1817 from United Kingdom

Coin: Sovereign 1817
Description

The 1817 sovereign of George III has a laureate head, with St. George and dragon reverse inside an inscribed garter.

It is the first date of George III Sovereign, which makes it also the very first of the "modern" Sovereigns. Previously, gold coins called "Sovereigns" had been minted on and off between 1489 and 1604, whereupon James I (VI) changed the name of the 20/- gold piece to a "Unite".

The modern 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)
Year1817 CurrentNo (demonetised 1891)
Mintage3,235,239 (3.2 million) RarityN (Normal)
Mints
NameMint markMintage
Royal Mint No mint mark 3,235,239 (3.2 million), Rarity: N (Normal)
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
Obverse

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 1817.

Obverse inscription GEORGIUS III D: G: BRITANNIAR: REX F: D: 1817
Reverse

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
Notes

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 10-11)

Sovereign 1817: Known varieties
VarietyMintageDetails
Proof FDC (Marsh 1A) unknown, Rarity: R5 (9 to 14 examples known) (hover mouse for text)
Medal alignment (Marsh 1B) unknown (included in main number), Rarity: R4 (15 to 25 examples known)
Sovereign 1817: Photos
Sovereign 1817: Photo Coin - Sovereign, George III, Great Britain, 1817
Coin - Sovereign, George III, Great Britain, 1817
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
source
Sovereign 1817: Photo Coin - Sovereign, George III, Great Britain, 1817
Coin - Sovereign, George III, Great Britain, 1817
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
source
Sovereign 1817: Photo Great Britain 1817 sovereign
Great Britain 1817 sovereign
Copyright: CoinFactsWiki / CC BY-SA
Author:
source
Sovereign 1817: Photo Great Britain 1817 sovereign
Great Britain 1817 sovereign
Copyright: CoinFactsWiki / CC BY-SA
Author:
source
Sovereign 1817: Catalogue Reference IDs
SourceReference ID
Marsh, The Gold Sovereign1, 1A, 1B
Friedberg, Gold Coins of the WorldGreat Britain 230
Krause, Standard Catalog of World CoinsGreat Britain KM# 674
Spink, Coins of England and the United Kingdom3785 and 3785A (Type B)
Sovereign 1817: References to Information Used
SourceEditionAboutLinkNotes
Museums Victoria Collections 2016 Coin description link
Remick, Catalogue of British Commonwealth Coins 1971 Mint
Remick, Catalogue of British Commonwealth Coins 1971 Mintage
Remick, Catalogue of British Commonwealth Coins 1971 Varieties Proof
Marsh, The Gold Sovereign 1980 Varieties Proof FDC, Medal alignment
Sovereign 1817: Links to sites that (may) sell similar coins
Gold Sovereigns: 1817 George III Gold Sovereigns
Sovereign 1817: Some useful external links
George III 1817 Gold Sovereigns Information Great Britain 1817 sovereign - CoinFactsWiki
Museums Victoria: Coin - Sovereign, George III, Great Britain, 1817 American Numismatic Society: Gold sovereign, London (England)
Advertising
Bullion Star - Buy and Store Bullion in Singapore
Bullion Star - Buy and Store Bullion in Singapore
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, Jubilee head Sovereign 1887 St George, Young 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