If this sovereign could talk, what a story it might tell.
With lineage dating back to King Henry VII, the sovereign was the most important coin in the British Empire and thus the world during much of the nineteenth century.
Symbolising purity, power and prestige, not only did it play an indispensable role in commerce and banking, but was also used as everyday spending money.
Maybe it once belonged to a well-heeled West Australian whose life was on the cusp of being interrupted by war? Could it have been spent by a newly recruited soldier before leaving for the battlefields of Gallipoli and the Western Front? It’s fascinating to speculate.
The grave impact of the First World War sounded the death knell for gold as a circulating medium. In Britain, people were urged to give up their sovereigns to aid the war effort and it disappeared from circulation within a year. Before the conflict was over, Britain ceased production altogether.
Although The Perth Mint continued making sovereigns in Australia until 1931, this date is ranked among the last to be considered a true circulating coin.
Struck from 7.98g of 22-carat gold to the fastidious standards that made it so internationally trustworthy, the coin portrays the iconic Saint George and the Dragon design by Italian-born Benedetto Pistrucci, chief medalist of the Royal Mint.
Signifying its place of manufacture, a symbolic ‘P’ mintmark is engraved above the centre of the year-date.
The obverse bears the effigy of King George V by Melbourne-born sculptor Bertram Mackennal.
Reflecting an important chapter in the history of the sovereign and providing an important link to Australia’s entry into the Great War 100-years ago, an extremely limited number of these superb coins in uncirculated condition are available now.