1981 Elizabeth II Gold Proof Sovereign
1981 proof 'full' Sovereign with Arnold Machin's portrait to the obverse.
History of the Gold Sovereign
The first Sovereigns were struck during the reign of Tudor king Henry VII. Centuries later, a new gold coin bearing this name was introduced, following a major overhaul of British coinage. This Sovereign, first minted in 1817, established specifications that are still strictly followed today.
All Sovereigns weight exactly 7.98 grams and are composed of 22 carat gold. That's a gold weight of 7.32 grams or .2354 troy ounces. Sovereigns measure 22.05 millimetres in diameter and have a nominal face value of one pound sterling though their gold content means they command significantly higher prices.
Sovereigns once circulated across the globe but production ceased with the outbreak of the First World War. Reintroduced in 1957, annual issues attract investors and collectors with limited edition proof Sovereigns - hand-finished for a flawless effect - the most sought-after.
Obverse and Reverse
For much of its history the modern 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. 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.
The obverse of this coin features the second definitive effigy of Her Majesty the Queen by Arnold Machin. This portrait was introduced to British currency in 1968 and was used through until the mid 1980s.
Limited Edition Presentation
While bullion Sovereigns are minted in large numbers by The Royal Mint each year, only a small number of proof coins are offered, starting in this year. Intended for collectors, proof coins have a high-definition, high-contrast finish, achieved with multiple strikes of hand-prepared dies. The finish is preserved by the original presentation box that the coin comes in.
This coin is one of 32,960 proof Sovereigns issued in 1981.
If you're interested in buying gold Sovereigns you might want to consider our best value, mixed-year Sovereigns which make a great investment.
Like all Sovereigns, this one is 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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