A gold coin (22.05 mm diameter with milled edge) featuring the effigy of King George V facing left; around, GEORGIVS V D.G. BRITT: OMN: REX F:D: IND: IMP:.
The reverse features St. George on horseback holding a short sword in his right hand, the horse rearing to right over a fallen dragon which has a broken lance in its chest; in exergue, the date, 1925 and the artist's initials B.P.; the mint mark (if any) is in the ground above the middle of the date.
In 1916 the [Australian] Commonwealth Treasury ordered Melbourne to pay for gold by cheque instead of in gold coin. In 1922 arrangements were made with Melbourne that it should coin gold whenever the bullion held reached 200,000 pounds. This seems to have occurred only every six months, the coin being held to back issues of Commonwealth paper money. This did not meet the needs of the Gold Producers Association; it would appear that they were able to employ the Perth mint for their needs.
Melbourne coins of the early 1920s are very rare, most having been deposited against paper money issues; Perth Mint coins of the era remain common. In 1925 large shipments of gold from America arrived and the Melbourne Mint was authorised to pay for imported gold in sovereigns. As a result sovereigns dated 1925 from Melbourne are common while earlier dates in the 1920s tend to be scarcer.
During World War I Great Britain suspended the production of the sovereign at the Royal Mint (although Branch mints continued to produce large quantities of the coin). In 1925 Britain, under Winston Churchill, attempted a return to the gold standard. At that time the Royal Mint took the opportunity to melt and re-strike worn gold coins that the Bank of England was holding. There was no intention that the sovereign would reclaim its place among the coins in circulation, just that the Bank would be holding full weight coins. Branch mints continued sovereign production until 1931 (Australia) and 1932 (South Africa) but the Royal Mint did not resume the denomination.
However from 1949 until 1952 sovereigns bearing the date 1925 were again struck (138,000 in 1949; 318,000 in 1951 and 430,000 in 1952). The reason given for using the head of George V and the 1925 date at that time was that there was a 'perceived need for familiarity' and the reason for producing a sovereign at all was to 'maintain a craft skill' at the Royal Mint. While both of these points no doubt had some relevance, it seems the the need to address foreign unofficial sovereign production was paramount. The sovereign had become an important coin in European circulation during World War II and a demand needed to be met.
Sovereigns were struck for George VI in 1937 but these were plain edged and thus not legal tender. They were coronation commemoratives.