1937 Proof Sovereign
* Images are of the actual product not stock images
During and immediately after the war years, Britain needed gold (and silver) to pay off its debts to other countries, so George VI gold coins were only minted in 1937. The gold coins came in a 4-coin set consisting of a gold five pounds piece (£5 quintuple sovereign), two pound piece (£2 double sovereign), sovereign and half sovereign. The limit was 5,001 sets.
King George VI ascended the throne on 11th December 1936, a reluctant King after the abdication of his brother Edward VIII. George had already married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in 1923 and the King and Queen were very popular in the era of World War II.
George was a heavy smoker and died in 1952 aged only 56. He was succeeded by his daughter, Queen Elizabeth II. George’s wife then became known as 'Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother', who maintained her popularity until her death in 2002 aged 101.
Despite only minting George VI gold coins in 1937, during his rule from 1936 to 1952 there were several changes to silver coins. Silver as well as gold was required to pay off War debts and 'silver' coins became the Cupro-nickel versions we know today, with no actual silver content at all. The silver threepence became the 12-sided brass 'threepenny bit'. As India gained independence in 1947 it was the last time we saw IND IMP (Emperor of India) on British coins.
Description of the 1937 Proof Sovereign
The Obverse (front, heads) of the 1937 Proof Sovereign shows a bare head portrait of King George VI by Humphrey Paget who was an English medal and coin designer.
The Reverse (back, tails) depicts the famous image of St. George slaying the dragon by Pistrucci. Benedetto Pistrucci (1783-1855) was an Italian engraver who became chief medallist at the Royal Mint. The George and the Dragon design is still the most common reverse image used on gold sovereigns today. The image shows St George on horseback, sword in hand. On the floor to the left is a broken spear from an earlier attack.
The Royal Mint
The 1937 Proof Sovereign was minted at The Royal Mint which is the designated place for the UK to mint coins. It dates back well over 1000 years and is a Government-owned company.
Formed in the reign of Alfred the Great about the year 886, it moved to the Tower of London in 1279 and remained there for over 500 years. The Master of The Royal Mint has included famous figures such as Sir Isaac Newton. Since 2010 it has operated as Royal Mint Ltd, a company owned by HM Treasury, under an exclusive contract to supply all coinage for the UK although it also produces medals and coins for other countries.
If you would like to see how the 1937 Proof Sovereign was created, the Royal Mint is currently located at Llantrisant, Wales, and it has an excellent visitor centre if you want to see what they do.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: Are your 1937 Proof Sovereign Coins genuine?
A: Yes, and we guarantee it. With high value coins and investments such as the 1937 Proof Sovereign, collectors and bullion investors often worry about counterfeits, but actually gold coins are very difficult to forge due to gold's unique properties of density and colour. Gold is extremely dense and to use another metal and gold-plate it would result in a coin that is under-weight, over-diameter or half-again as thick, something that would be spotted very easily by a expert. You can buy from us 100% worry free.
Q: Does a Limited Mintage matter?
A: This can affect the future value of your sovereign as it increases the scarcity of the coin, and it can make a big difference. The 1937 Proof Sovereign was only minted in 1937, none has been made since and no new ones will ever be made again. Once the Royal Mint has sold out, the coin can only be obtained from the free market where rarity usually has a premium price. On the other hand, more collectors generally enter the market over time. It is basic Supply and Demand. Scarce coins can appreciate in price considerably over a period of time and can make very good investments.
Q: Why is the 1937 Proof Sovereign 91.67% gold? Why not use pure gold?
A. In the past, gold coins have been the normal circulation coins. Pure gold would wear very quickly and so the mints would add another metal, usually copper, in the ratio 11/12ths gold and 1/12th copper. This alloy is 22 carat or 91.67% gold and is considerably harder and more durable than 24 carat gold. As Gold coins are no longer intended for circulation, this is no longer a requirement. Pure Gold is actually quite soft, so you should handle the coins carefully as they can easily scratch and dent. Probably best to leave the coin in a protective capsule.
Q: Why is the 1937 Proof Sovereign such a strange weight?
A: Nowadays, 0.2354 troy ounce or 7.9881g may not make much sense, but it did once. In 1816 there was the "Great Recoinage". The main gold one-pound coin was changed from the gold Guinea (which was actually no longer valued at one pound) to the new 'Gold Sovereign'. At that time standard (22 carat) gold was fixed at £46 14s 6d per troy pound, so a little maths meant a £1 coin needed to weigh 123.2744783 grains or 7.988030269g. The weight was the same for the 1937 Proof Sovereign, and will almost certainly be the same on future gold sovereigns.