Updated Nov 15 2022
The Royal Mint has just released a second 2022 Sovereign: the first to feature the new portrait of King Charles III. We've got all the details on this unprecedented memorial collection, struck with a special royal arms reverse by one of the UK's top coin designers.
What Are 2022 Memorial Sovereigns?
Sovereigns have often been issued to mark royal milestones, included in proof sets to celebrate the coronation of new monarchs.
During Queen Elizabeth II's long reign The Royal Mint offered a range of special designs in anniversary years, replacing the iconic image of Saint George by Benedetto Pistrucci with new engravings by eminent British artists. The most recent of these one-year-only designs was commissioned for the 2022 Platinum Jubilee, paying tribute to Her Majesty's remarkably seventy years on the throne.
Ordinarily, we'd only expect to see one issue of Sovereigns in a given year, generally issued in the preceding autumn. However, the passing of Elizabeth II and the accession of her son, King Charles III, in September 2022 has prompted the release of an unprecedented second annual issue in memory of the late Queen.
This poignant Memorial range is characterised by two remarkable new designs and is available in a range of sets, denominations and finishes.
First Sovereigns With Portrait Of Charles III
2022 Memorial Sovereigns are the first of these gold coins to feature the image of King Charles III.
His Majesty's first definitive coin portrait is the work of British sculptor Martin Jennings. He's known for his bronze statues of famous literary figures like Charles Dickens, George Orwell and John Betjeman.
It's been reported that Jennings' portrait was in the works for about a year. The design was chosen via a private competition held by the Royal Mint Advisory Committee and personally approved by King Charles. Speaking of the commission, Jennings said:
'I was delighted to hear that The King likes the image. He was very interested in it and responded very positively to it. It has been very gratifying to be involved in this important process.'
As expected, Jennings' royal portrait shows Charles facing left, the opposite direction to his mother who looks right on her coins. The tradition for British monarchs to face a different direction to their predecessor dates back to the seventeenth century.
Coins in the Elizabeth II Memorial range show the English form of the King's name, rather than the Latin 'Carolus'. The rest of the legend remains in Latin with a slight change to the phrasing, swapping out 'D G REG' ('Dei Gratia Regina') for 'D G REX' ('Dei Gratia Rex' - 'By the Grace of God, King').
While we'll start seeing Charles' face on the coins in our change from January 2023, these Memorial Sovereigns are among a select range of UK commemorative coinage that offers us a preview of the new portrait.
A New Royal Arms Reverse By Jody Clark
The reverse of 2022 Charles III Sovereigns shows the royal coat of arms: a potent heraldic symbol, used both by the royal family and the British government. The royal arms speak to national history and identity and include symbolic representations of the four constituent countries of the United Kingdom: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. You'll see the arms displayed on everything from UK government buildings to products manufactured by companies that hold a royal warrant. They've also been a perennial presence on British coinage down the centuries with the royal arms currently seen on seven of the UK's circulating coins.
Did you know? King Charles' coat of arms are identical to his mother's. While his cypher included the 'Tudor' or 'King's Crown', rather than St Edward's Crown, the latter is retained on the royal coat of arms.
The interpretation of the royal arms seen on Memorial Sovereigns is the work of Jody Clark, best known for his fifth and final definitive portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. Clark's arms are dense with detail, surrounding the shield and supporters with flourishes and national flower emblems. His lion and unicorn are rendered with the realism that characterised the designs his Queen's Beasts series. The date - 2022 - features on a scroll, below the words 'DIEU ET MON DROIT': Latin for 'God and my right' - the monarch's motto.
Clark's design shares a theme with the special reverse commissioned for 2022 Platinum Jubilee Sovereigns. Timothy Noad's design is a clean-lined interpretation of the royal arms. Clark's work is stylistically different but presents a point of continuity in this time of royal transition.
Are Memorial Sovereigns A Good Investment?
Gold Sovereigns with special reverse designs always attract particular interest from collectors. As these limited edition Memorial coins are also the first to feature King Charles III they have an additional appeal, sure to make them sought after in years to come.
Like all Sovereigns, Memorial editions - including those in sets - are struck in 22-carat (91.67% pure) gold, following a specification established more than two centuries ago. As investment gold, these coins can be offered without VAT in the UK and the EU. As Sovereigns are legal tender they're also not subject to Capital Gains Tax. These benefits, combined with the buoyant market for commemorative coinage can make these 2022 coins a smart investment.
The 2022 Memorial Sovereign Family
We're offering a range of 2022 Memorial Sovereigns and sets in very limited numbers:
|Limited Edition||Gross Weight||Gold Weight|
|2022 Memorial Proof Sovereign||17,500||7.98g||7.31g|
|2022 Memorial Proof Half Sovereign||3,000||3.99g||3.66g|
|2022 Memorial BU Five Sovereign||1,000||39.94g||36.61g|
|2022 Memorial Piedfort Sovereign||2,022||15.97g||14.64g|
|2022 Memorial 5 Sovereign Set||1,200||69.89g||64.07g|
|2022 Memorial 4 Sovereign Set||750||29.95g||27.45g|
|2022 Memorial 3 Sovereign Set||1,500||13.97g||12.81g|
Are Memorial Sovereigns The Same As 2023 Sovereigns?
The Memorial Sovereign range is a special edition collection: the second such issued in 2022. Memorial Sovereigns feature the same date as Platinum Jubilee 2022 Sovereigns but a different a distinct obverse and reverse.
Though collectors may have been anticipating the release of a 2023 dated Sovereign in November of 2022 it looks like this release will now be pushed back. We do not yet know what those 22-carat gold coins will look like but they will certainly feature a portrait of King Charles on the heads side.
Still interested in 2023 Sovereigns? You can sign up for product alerts now. Browse our range of Charles III 2023 Sovereigns, hit the track product button and we'll send you an email as soon as these coins are available to order.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Memorial Sovereign range - the first to feature a portrait of King Charles III - is dated 2022. This is the second collection of Sovereigns issued by The Royal Mint in this year. 2023 Sovereigns will also show King Charles on the obverse but these have not been released yet.
Ordinarily, The Royal Mint releases only one range of Sovereigns per year. In 2022 we were treated to two distinct Sovereign ranges: the first celebrating Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee, with the second, struck in her memory with a portrait of the new King, Charles III.
2022 Memorial Sovereigns are the first to feature a portrait of King Charles III. 2022 Sovereigns issued before Her Majesty the Queen's passing in September 2022 show the final portrait of Elizabeth II. From 2023 Sovereigns will exclusively display the image of King Charles.
While we thought that 2023 Sovereigns would be issued in late 2022, the release of the Memorial Sovereign collection (the second range of 2022-dated Sovereigns) may mean we have to wait a bit longer for next-years coins.
2022 Jubilee Sovereigns feature a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, paired with a royal arms reverse designed by Timothy Noad. Memorial Sovereigns - also dated 2022 - shows Martin Jennings' portrait of King Charles III to the obverse with a new reverse by Jody Clark.
Some of the Sovereigns issued in 2022 feature Jody Clark's portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. These were issued before Her Majesty's passing in September. Memorial Sovereigns - also dated 2022 - show a portrait of the new King, Charles III by Martin Jennings.
New 2022 Memorial Sovereigns are available in a range of sizes and sets. The Royal Mint is offering Memorial proof 'full' Sovereigns and Half Sovereigns, brilliant uncirculated Five Sovereigns and piedfort editions as well as 3-coin, 4-coin and 5-coin collector's sets.
2022 Memorial Sovereigns feature a special reverse by Jody Clark. He’s best known for his fifth and final portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. His design for these special edition Sovereigns is inspired by the royal coat of arms and includes life-like heraldic supporters.
Our 2022 Memorial Sovereigns are not available for immediate dispatch. Please check projected shipping dates on individual products for up-to-date information regarding when you can expect to receive your order. We'll send you a dispatch email when they have been posted.
The 2022 Memorial Sovereign collection is the second Sovereign release from The Royal Mint for 2022 and is a tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II. The coins in this range feature a portrait of Charles III by Martin Jennings: the first Sovereigns to show the new King.