1981 Full Gold Sovereign
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. Pistruccin was an Italian engraver who became Chief Medallist at The Royal Mint. This 1981 Sovereign coin hosts a portrait of the longest reigning monarch of all time, HM The Queen, Elizabeth II.
Buy a 1981 Gold Sovereign
- This pre-owned 1981 gold bullion Sovereign is struck in 22 carat gold, weighs 7.98g and contains 7.32g of fine gold.
- A mintage of 5.1 million bullion Sovereign coins were produced at The Royal Mint for the year 1981.
- Ideal as a gift to mark a fortieth birthday or Ruby wedding anniversary.
- 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 1981
The year 1981 saw; the engagement and marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, the beginnings of the Rupert Murdock empire with his purchase of The Times, the first London marathon, riots in Brixton and across the UK, Arthur Scargill elected as leader of the National Union of Mineworkers, and 105 tornadoes hitting Britain in a single night. In entertainment we witnessed; Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'Cats' open on the West End, Bucks Fizz winning the Eurovision Song Contest with 'Making Your Mind Up', the first Indiana Jones film 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' in cinemas and the launch of MTV in the USA. 1981 was a remarkable year in history, now immortalised in coinage.
1981 Gold Bullion Sovereign
The Obverse (front, heads) presents Queen Elizabeth II's second portrait by Arnold Machin. An updated version of the design has also 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, a gift from her grandmother, Queen Mary.
The Reverse (back, tails) of the 1981 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 and Her Majesty is Britain's longest reigning monarch of all time.
The 1981 gold bullion Sovereign coin may be supplied in an acrylic capsule.
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.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Based on the current gold price, we will pay a minimum of £363.88 for a 1981 Sovereign. This is on the basis that it's in reasonably good condition and hasn't been mounted in jewellery.
This price fluctuates in-line with the live gold price and you may be reading an old snapshot of this page. Our up-to-date buy rate is shown when you click the 'Sell to Us' button, towards the top of this page.
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