Gold coin; Denomination: Sovereign
Royal Mint, London
George V (1911-1936) or George VI (1937-1952)

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 un-official 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.

Obverse Description

Bare head of the King facing left; below on neck truncation in small letters, B.M. (Bertram MacKennal); around, GEORGIVS V D.G. BRITT: OMN: REX F.D. IND: IMP:

Reverse Description

St George on horseback advancing to right, wearing a helmet and cape and brandishing a sword, attacking a fallen dragon with broken lance in its side; in small letters at right below the exergue line B.P. (initials of the designer,Benedetto Pistrucci); in exergue, 1925

Edge Description


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