1996 Elizabeth II Gold Proof Half Sovereign
Gold proof Half Sovereign: one of 5,730 issued in 1996.
The Story of the Half Sovereign
The first Half Sovereigns were minted by the Tudor monarchs. Later, the name was revived for a new gold coin, introduced in 1817 following a major overhaul of British coinage. They were minted for more than a century, only falling out of production and circulation after the First World War.
Half Sovereigns are composed of 3.994 grams of 22 carat gold. They have a diameter of 19.30 and contain .1176 troy ounces of pure gold. Nominally, Half Sovereigns have a value of half a Pound sterling though their precious metal content means they are worth significantly more.
Proof Half Sovereigns began to be minted regularly in the 1980s, joining full Sovereigns as part of the The Royal Mint’s most prestigious annual issue. These coins are available in sets and individually, minted in smaller numbers than larger Sovereigns which makes them particularly collectible.
Pistrucci's Saint George
For much of its history the modern Half Sovereign has featured an iconic reverse design, crafted by Italian artist Benedetto Pistrucci. His instantly-recognisable Saint George and the Dragon design shows England's patron saint mounted on a horse, slaying a dragon underfoot.
It's a powerful image that has become synonymous with the gold Sovereign and Half Sovereign. These coins don't carry their denomination on their face as part of their legend like most currency, so the Saint George motif is an easy identifier for many collectors. The coin's date appears below the dragon.
Between 1985 and 1997, British money, including Half Sovereigns featured a portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by renown sculptor Raphael Maklouf to the obverse. His effigy shows the Queen wearing the George IV State Diadem. Maklouf's initials can be seen on the truncation of her neck.
Collectible Proof Coin
This 1996 Sovereign is finished to The Royal Mint's finest proof standard. Intended for collectors, proof coins have crisp details and high contrast between fields and designs, achieved with multiple strikes of specially prepared dies.
Just 5,730 of these gold proof Half Sovereigns were issued by The Royal Mint in 1996.
These are all are exempt from Capital Gains Tax as UK legal tender and free from VAT in the UK and EU as investment grade gold.
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