1979 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 date. 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 1979 Sovereign coin hosts a portrait of the longest reigning British monarch of all time, HM The Queen, Elizabeth II.
Buy a 1979 Gold Sovereign
- This pre-owned 1979 gold bullion Sovereign is struck in 22 carat gold, weighs 7.98g and contains 7.32g of fine gold.
- A mintage of 9.1 million bullion Sovereign coins were produced at The Royal Mint for the year 1979.
- The gold Sovereign is considered to be one of the world's oldest coins still in production and a pinnacle of minting excellence.
- The 1979 gold bullion Sovereign is the first appearance of the Sovereign for the Bullion market and as a commemorative coin, which still has legal tender status. It was previously a trade coin, sometimes in circulation, between 1914 and 1979.
- 1979 is also the first year in which Proof versions of Sovereigns started to be issued regularly for collectors.
The year 1979 was characterised by; a lack of dustbin collections, Sony's launch of the Walkman cassette player, Mother Theresa winning the Nobel Peace Prize, and the elimination of smallpox. The nation tuned into; Are You Being Served?, Charlie's Angels, Dallas, and Last of the Summer Wine. Meanwhile, Margaret Thatcher was elected as the first female Prime Minister, milk prices soared, The Times newspaper was caught up in a dispute, China introduced a one child policy and Michael Jackson had his first plastic surgery shortly after releasing hit album, Off The Wall. Cinema releases included; Alien, Monty Python's Life of Brian, Apocalypse Now, and The Muppet Movie. Tragedy also struck with the IRA assassination of Prince Philip's uncle, Lord Mountbatten. 1979 was a memorable year in history, now immortalised in coinage.
1979 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 Gillick image of Her Majesty in a wreath is replaced by a tiara in Machin's effigy, a gift from her grandmother, Queen Mary.
The Reverse (back, tails) of the 1979 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.
The 1979 gold bullion Sovereign 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).
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