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1980 Proof Gold Sovereign

1980 Proof Gold Sovereign
(VAT Exempt)
The 1980 proof full gold Sovereign, struck by The Royal Mint.
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A mintage of 90,000 coins (individually boxed). The 1980 gold Proof Sovereign hosts the famed reverse design by Benedetto Pistrucci, in which St George slays the dragon on horseback. The obverse features the 2nd Portrait of HM The Queen by Arnold Machin RA.

The 1980 Gold Proof Sovereign Coin

The obverse (heads) presents the 2nd portrait by Arnold Machin RA of HM The Queen. An updated version of this same portrait 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 reverse (tails) of the Sovereign hosts the signature 1817 'St George and the Dragon' design by Benedetto Pistrucci. In the 1800s, 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. He soon became known as an exceptionally talented engraver and artist. Although best known for the Sovereign, Pistrucci also undertook a 30-year-long commissioned project by the British government to design the Waterloo Medal.

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 History of the Sovereign

The first ever Sovereign coin was commissioned by Henry VII in 1489, and by each Tudor Monarch until the reign of James I, when the Sovereign disappeared for two centuries. Revived in 1817 as part of the great coinage reform at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, it traditionally featured a heraldic reverse. This was later abandoned in favour of a 'St George and the dragon' design by Benedetto Pistrucci. The Sovereign ceased being in circulation during the First World War, when the public were asked to surrender gold Sovereigns to; support the war effort, pay off international debts, and build up the Bank of England reserves. 

Buy a 1980 Gold Sovereign 

This pre-owned 1980 gold Proof Sovereign is struck in 22 carat gold, weighs 7.988g and contains 7.32g of fine gold. Today, the Sovereign is considered to be one of the world's oldest coins still in production and a pinnacle of minting excellence. 

The year 1980

In the minting world, 1980 spelled the end of the sixpence in circulation (with the exception of its annual appearance in Christmas Puddings). The year 1980 was characterised by; the assassination of 'Beatle' John Lennon in New York, the election of US President Ronald Reagan, a new 'rap genre' entering the music scene, and millions of 'Dallas' TV series fans wanting to know 'who shot JR?'. The year also witnessed; the opening of UK theme park Alton Towers, a major fire at Alexandra Palace, the first CND rally at RAF Greenham Common and the highest unemployment since the postwar era at over 2 million. High employment led to the infamous speech by Prime Margaret Thatcher in which she exclaimed 'The lady's not for turning'. It also marked the beginning of a year of strikes for over 90,000 UK steelworkers. Meanwhile; Zimbabwe became independent, Robin Cousins won Britain's only gold in figure skating at the Winter Olympics, and pirate radio station, Radio Caroline, ended its broadcasting after sinking just off the Thames Estuary. 1980 was a remarkable year in history, now immortalised in coinage. 

The Legend of St George and the Dragon

Dating back to the reign of William of Malmesbury, during the third century, inspiration for the 'St George and the dragon' story was drawn from a Roman soldier who refused to give up his Christian faith. There are many fabled stories associated with St George, the majority of which honour him as a brave hero with English ideals and a symbol of Christianity. The most well-known tale sees St George as a heroic rescuer on horseback sent to rescue a young maiden or princess sacrificed to a dragon, which he slays to save her life. It is widely believed that the dragon was slain at Uffington's Dragon Hill, a Bronze-age site just 20 miles from our Royal Wootton Bassett premises. 


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