1957 Gold Sovereign
The Sovereign is considered by many to be the flagship of The Royal Mint. The first ever Sovereign coin was commissioned by Henry VII in 1489, and by each Tudor Monarch until the reign of James I, when the Sovereign disappeared for two centuries. Revived in 1817 as part of the great coinage reform at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, it traditionally featured a heraldic reverse. This was later abandoned in favour of a 'St George and the dragon' design by Benedetto Pistrucci. The modern gold Sovereign was first minted in Britain from 1817 until 1917, and then in 1925, 1957–59, 1962–68, 1974, 1976, 1978–82 and 2000 to the present day. Modern gold bullion Sovereign production was paused after 1982 up until the year 2000, although Proof versions were still issued.
The Sovereign ceased being in circulation during the First World War, when the public were asked to surrender gold Sovereigns to; support the war effort, pay off international debts, and build up the Bank of England reserves.
The 1957 Gold Sovereign Bullion coin hosts a portrait of Elizabeth II by Mary Gillick. HM Queen Elizabeth II is the current and longest reigning British monarch of all time. Born on 21st April 1926 to King George VI and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, Princess Elizabeth became Queen in 1952 and her Coronation was held on 2nd June 1953.
Buy a 1957 Gold Sovereign
- This pre-owned 1957 gold bullion Sovereign is struck in 22 carat gold, weighs 7.98g and contains 7.32g of fine gold. The first of the modern Sovereigns.
- A mintage of 2,072,000 million Sovereign coins were produced at The Royal Mint for the year 1957, inclusive of a few rare Proof versions.
- The gold Sovereign is considered to be one of the world's oldest coins still in production and a pinnacle of minting excellence.
- The perfect gift to mark a special occasion such as a birthday, anniversary or wedding.
Back in 1957
The year 1957 saw:
- the election of Harold MacMillan as British Prime Minister on Anthony Eden's resignation
- the debut flight of the Boeing 707
- the first Frisbee go on sale in California
- 'Throne of Blood', an adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth released in Japan
- the opening of Liverpool's Cavern Club
- the Asian Flu Pandemic take the lives of 1m people worldwide
- the UK abolish the 'Toddlers' Truce' in which TV broadcasting stopped between 6pm and 7pm before adult television aired
- the release of Dr Seuss' successful childrens' book 'The Cat in the Hat'
- the Treaty of Rome establish The European Economic Community (EEC)
- Elvis Presley purchase his iconic Graceland mansion and releases film 'Jailhouse Rock'
- Rodgers and Hammerstein pen TV musical 'Cinderella' with Julie Andrews
- Egypt reopen the Suez Canal
- the US military accidentally dropping a Mark 17 hydrogen bomb on land near Albuquerque, New Mexico
- John Lennon and Paul McCartney meet at a garden fete
- Rawya Ateya of Egypt become the first female parliamentarian in the Arab world
- the US Civil Rights Act 1957 enacted
- 'Bridge on the River Kwai' open in UK cinemas
- The return of the British gold bullion Sovereign coin
1957 was a remarkable year in history, now immortalised in coinage.
The 1957 Gold Bullion Sovereign Coin
The Obverse (front, heads) presents Queen Elizabeth II's first portrait by Mary Gillick. The 1957 Sovereign is the first Sovereign made available to the general public to feature an effigy of Elizabeth II. The first Portrait of Elizabeth II was issued on British coinage in 1953, the year of Her Majesty's Coronation. The image hosts a youthful and uncrowned Queen. Gillick competed against 16 artists for the honour of designing the first Portrait of Elizabeth II. Her design stood out for its absence of a crown and The Queen's 'approachable' depiction. As a tribute to Mary Gillick, the design is still struck on Maundy Money today at The Queen's request.
The Reverse (back, tails) of the 1957 gold bullion Sovereign hosts the signature 1817 'St George and the Dragon' design by Benedetto Pistrucci. 19th century talented Italian engraver Pistrucci was instructed to develop designs for George III's silver and gold coins by The Master of The Mint. Pistrucci also designed the Waterloo Medal for the British Government, a commission which took the artist 30 years to create.
The coin includes the inscription, 'DEI GRA REGINA FID DEF', which translates to 'By the Grace of God, Queen, Defender of the Faith'. The inscription refers to HM Queen Elizabeth II's position as Supreme Governor of the Church of England. Elizabeth II has held the role since her accession to the throne in 1952.
A small number of Proof versions of the 1957 gold Sovereign were issued in response to Middle Eastern demand but these are exceptionally rare. This 1957 bullion coin may be supplied in an acrylic capsule.
The Trial of the Pyx
This gold bullion Sovereign coin is verified at the Trial of the Pyx, a 13th century ritual used to measure a coin's weight and quality. The Trial of the Pyx is one of Britain's oldest traditions, dating back to at least 1282 during the reign of Edward I. The ceremony usually includes; the Chancellor of the Exchequer, financial leaders, The Royal Mint's representatives and freemen of The Goldsmiths' Company. Coins are taken from every batch of each denomination struck, sealed in bags of 50 and locked away for testing at the Trial. The 'Pyx' is latin referring to the chests used to transport and store the coins. The ritual involves putting the coins in a copper bowl and selecting at random for testing. Each coin is checked to ensure it meets the specifications set out in the relevant section of the Coinage Act or Royal Proclamation.
The Legend of St George and the Dragon
St George's legacy dates back to the 3rd century, often depicted as a heroic defender of the Christian faith. The most widely shared story recounts St George as a rescuer on horseback sent to slay a dragon in order to save a young maiden or princess. It is widely believed that the dragon in the mythical tale was slain at Uffington's Dragon Hill, a Bronze-age site just a stone's throw from our premises in Royal Wootton Bassett. As the Patron Saint of England, St George celebrated in the country on the 23rd April every year since 1222.
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