1978 Gold Sovereign
Highly sought-after by investors and collectors, gold bullion Sovereigns are possibly the most famous of all gold coins. Often referred to as 'The Chief Coin of the World' owing to the Sovereign's international trading in the 19th and 20th centuries. The contemporary gold Sovereign has been minted in Britain since 1817, and again from 1817-1917, 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 first of the modern Sovereigns hosted a portrait of King George III and the 'St George and the Dragon' design by Benedetto Pistrucci. Pistrucci was an Italian engraver who became Chief Medallist at The Royal Mint. This 1978 Sovereign coin hosts a portrait of the longest reigning monarch of all time, HM The Queen, Elizabeth II.
Buy a 1978 Gold Sovereign
- This pre-owned 1978 gold bullion Sovereign is struck in 22 carat gold, weighs 7.98g and contains 7.32g of fine gold.
- A mintage of 6,550,000 bullion coins were produced at The Royal Mint for the year 1978.
- The gold Sovereign is considered to be one of the world's oldest coins still in production and a pinnacle of minting excellence.
The year 1978
The year 1978 was characterised by; the birth of the world's first IVF baby, hit songs from The Bee Gees, The Sex Pistols, and Kate Bush, and Grease and Superman hit the cinemas while TV show Dallas and radio show The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy aired for the first time. There was also tragedy with many murderous acts and celebrity deaths. Namely, when; Aldo Moro, former Italian Prime Minister, was kidnapped and murdered by the Red Brigades, a 13-year-old paper boy was shot dead during a burglary, and Bulgarian Georgi Markov was killed with a poisoned umbrella in London. A devastating mass-murder suicide also took place involving 918 victims in a San Francisco cult in Guyana. The year also saw; William Stern declare the largest bankruptcy in British history with debts of £118 million, Naomi James become the first woman to sail solo around the world, and strikes break out at Ford factories, bakers, and at the BBC. 1978 was a remarkable year in history, now immortalised in coinage.
The 1978 Gold Bullion Sovereign Coin
The Obverse (front, heads) presents Queen Elizabeth II's second portrait by Arnold Machin. An updated version of the same portrait has appeared on British stamps since 1967. The 2nd Portrait by Machin replaced the original Elizabeth II portrayal by Mary Gillick, to help new British decimal currency stand out when it was released in 1968.
The Reverse (back, tails) of the 1978 gold bullion Sovereign hosts the signature 1817 'St George and the Dragon' design by Benedetto Pistrucci. In the 19th century, Italian engraver Pistrucci was instructed to create designs for George III's silver and gold coins by William Wellesley-Pole, The Master of The Mint.
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.
No Proof versions were issued for the 1978 gold bullion Sovereign coin. This 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.
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 20 miles from our premises in Royal Wootton Bassett. As the Patron Saint of England, St George celebrated on the 23rd April every year since 1222. This is despite St George being unlikely to have ever been deemed of English descent. Mythical St George is also the patron saint of Aragon, Catalonia, Georgia, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, Germany and Greece; and of Moscow, Istanbul, Genoa and Venice (second to Saint Mark).
The Reverse depicts 'St George and his dragon', in the classic design by Benedetto Pistrucci. The Obverse design of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II is the second portrait design, by Arnold Machin.
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