Elizabeth II Mary Gillick Portrait Gold Sovereigns : 1957 to 1968
Gold 'full' Sovereign dated 1957 to 1968 with Mary Gillick's first definitive portrait of Queen Elizabeth II to the obverse.
Who Was Mary Gillick?
Mary Gillick (1881-1965) was the artist behind the first portrait of Queen Elizabeth II seen on her coinage.
Born in Nottingham, Gillick trained at the Royal College of Art. Working out of a studio in Chelsea she specialised in large-scale bas-relief work in stone and bronze but had previously designed several medals in a career spanning more than five decades.
Upon the death of King George VI in February 1952, Gillick was invited to submit designs for the new Queen's first coinage, alongside 17 other artists. Her winning portrait would be informed by profile photos taken by society photographer Dorothy Wilding and the guidance from The Royal Mint Advisory Committee, notably its president, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Gillick was awarded an OBE in the 1953 Coronation Honours for her contribution to coinage.
Mary Gillick's Portrait Of Elizabeth II
The first definitive effigy of Her Majesty the Queen shows her facing right, her hair caught up in a wreath of laurels, tied at her neck with a ribbon. The youthful portrait, unencumbered with crown has echoes of William Wyon's Young Head portrait of Elizabeth's great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria.
Gillick's portrait was unveiled in November 1952. Contemporary newspaper reports dwelt on the fact that the artist, like the new monarch, was a woman. Elizabeth II was 25 in 1952, Gillick was 71.
The Gillick portrait was used on coinage in the UK and further afield from 1953 until 1970. It could still be seen on Queen Elizabeth's maundy money and on British commemorative stamps, long after new definitive portraits had been introduced on circulating coinage.
Gold Gillick Full Sovereigns
Mary Gillick's portrait of the Queen can be seen on British Sovereigns minted between 1957 and 1968.
No Sovereigns were minted for the first few years of Elizabeth II's reign, excepting the supremely rare 1953 Sovereign, produced only for institutional collections. No gold Sovereigns were struck in 1960 or 1961 and then there was a gap in production from 1969 until 1974 when the denomination was reintroduced with a new obverse portrait by Arnold Machin.
Sovereigns minted between 1953 and 1968 bear the legend: '+ ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F: D:'.
All Gillick portrait Sovereigns show the classic image of Saint George and the dragon to the reverse. This interpretation of the legend of England's patron saint has been a perennial feature of these coins down the centuries and is the work of an Italian artist named Benedetto Pistrucci. The date appears below.
What Is A Gold Sovereign?
The history of the Sovereign starts in the time of the Tudor kings. The hammered gold coins first issued by Henry VII would later lend their prestigious name to a new coin, introduced in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars as part of a wholesale overhaul of British currency.
The first modern Sovereigns, struck in 1817, established specifications that have now been followed for two centuries. Each 'full' Sovereign is composed of 7.98 grams of 22 carat gold and has a diameter of 22.05 millimetres.
All Gillick Head Sovereigns all have a pure gold weight of 7.32 grams or 0.2354 troy ounces.
Once, Sovereigns circulated across the globe but minting ceased in the early twentieth century. Their enduring popularity inspired The Royal Mint to begin issuing new Sovereigns in the 1950s, early in the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
Investing In Historic Sovereigns
Gold Sovereigns are popular among investors and historic Sovereigns have a distinct appeal. Here's five reasons we recommend Widowed Head Sovereigns:
- Like all Sovereigns, these older coins are composed of 22 carat gold, offering the intrinsic security of precious metals as a means of storing wealth
- Each of these coins weighs 7.98 grams making them easy to store and their prices accessible to most buyers, particularly when compared to larger gold coins like Britannias and Krugerrands
- Gillick Head Sovereigns are free from VAT as investment gold in the UK and European Union
- As they're still technically legal tender in the UK, these older gold coins are also Capital Gains Tax exempt
- Lastly, the numismatic appeal and aesthetic beauty of these coins adds a collectible element and can give Elizabeth II Sovereigns a value above bullion
How To Buy A Gillick Head Sovereign?
Our best value Gillick Head Sovereigns are selected by us from our available stock. You may find coins dated 1957 to 1968 in your order. If you're looking for a specific, rare date example like a low-mintage 1959 Sovereign then it's worth browsing our wide range of Elizabeth II Sovereigns.
We carefully authenticate all our gold coins using our decades of expertise as well as XRF technology which allows us to check the chemical composition of Sovereigns without damaging them.
Each of these First Portrait Sovereigns is graded EF or better that the fascinating portrait is intact though very minor signs of handling may be apparent. These will not impact the gold weight or the appeal of these circulated Elizabethan coins.
How To Sell A Gillick Head Sovereign?
If you're looking to sell a gold Gillick Head Sovereign we can help. We buy these coins and many more via post and across our dedicated gold counter where we can give you industry leading prices for everything from ancient gold to modern circulated 50ps while you wait. Visit our Sell Your Coins page to request a personalised quote.
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