1989 4-Coin Sovereign Proof Set: 500th Anniversary of the Gold Sovereign
Although the 1817 George III was the first of the 'modern' gold sovereigns, the English Sovereign coin itself dates back to Henry VII. In 1489 a gold bullion coin worth 20 shillings was made and although it was not marked with a face value, it was the first English coin to be valued at One Pound Sterling. The first of the English Sovereigns were large coins with a diameter of 42mm (1.7 inches) so it could carry a large image of the monarch thus the coin was soon called The Sovereign.
The Half-Sovereign was also introduced a long time ago, back in 1544 during the reign of Henry VIII. However it was discontinued in 1604 (along with full sovereigns) and no more was minted until 1817. Production ended again in 1926 (1933 in Australia) and except for a few special issues during the Coronation years, it was 1980 when we saw half-sovereigns again.
The 1989 4-Coin Gold Sovereign Proof Set contains a Proof Double Sovereign. The first gold two pound (£2) coins appeared in 1820 for George III but they were only made occasionally and not intended for circulation. In 1980 the Royal Mint started minting them yearly. Double Sovereigns are Gold £2 coins, but there are two variations. One is the double sovereign itself; it looks like a larger version of the sovereign of the same year. The other type is a commemorative style which tends to copy the circulation two pound design. To avoid categorisation some dealers refer to both types collectively as two pound pieces.
Quintuple Sovereigns, or Gold five-pounds, are impressive coins. Hold one and feel the weight - it's an amazing experience. Despite the high cost of a gold coin weighing almost 40g they are very popular and very collectable. A gold £5 can be a gold sovereign type or a £5 crown; the weights are the same but there is a small difference in diameter. The coin in the 1989 4-Coin Gold Sovereign Proof Set is of the gold sovereign type.
Description of the 1989 4-Coin Gold Sovereign Proof Set
The designs of the coins in the 1989 4-Coin Gold Sovereign Proof Set are common and are based on the original 1489 gold sovereign of Henry VII. British artist and sculptor Bernard R Sindall designed both front and back of the coins.
For the Obverse (front, heads) the image is of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at her Coronation, seated in King Edward’s Chair, having received the Sceptre with the Cross and the Rod with the Dove, all surrounded by the legend 'ELIZABETH II DEI GRA REG FID DEF' (Elizabeth II, Queen by the Grace of God, Defender of the Faith).
The Reverse (back, tails) depicts a crowned Shield of Royal Arms superimposed upon a double Rose (Known as the 'Tudor Rose'), and with the legend ANNIVERSARY OF THE GOLD SOVEREIGN 1489–1989.
It's an amazing set of coins to celebrate 500th Anniversary of the Gold Sovereign and the design was only used on the gold sovereign family of 1989.
The set was issued in a Royal Mint case with a numbered Certificate of Authenticity (COA). All coins are legal tender in the UK; you should ask your accountant/financial advisor what Capital Gains Tax advantages you can gain from this.
The Monarch: Elizabeth II (1952-)
Queen Elizabeth II is the current and longest reigning monarch ever. Born on 21 April 1926 to King George VI and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, she became Queen in 1952 and her Coronation was on 2 June 1953.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: Are your 1989 4-Coin Gold Sovereign Proof Set Coins genuine?
A: Yes, and we guarantee it. With high value coins and investments such as the 1989 4-Coin Gold Sovereign Proof Set, 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: What is the difference between Gold Proof Coins and Gold Bullion Coins?
A: Both coins will carry the same amount of gold.
Proof coins have a mirror-like finish. They are almost hand made, with appreciable care, struck several times to get an outstanding image. Proofs are aimed at numismatists (coin collectors). This extra care incurs considerable additional cost and a proof will cost much more than the gold content of the coin. It will also attract a high re-sale price if you do decide to sell it and there are strong markets for these coins.
Bullion coins are primarily for gold investment. They may have the same image as the proof, but the coin is made by machine, and only struck once using production dies. The coin is not so visually appealing as a proof and may have scuffs and scratches from the manufacturing process. But if you're just looking for gold, then this is the cheapest way to buy.
Q: Does the Limited Mintage of the 1989 4-Coin Gold Sovereign Proof Set matter?
A: This can affect the future value of your sovereign set as it increases the scarcity of the sets, and it can make a big difference. The 1989 4-Coin Gold Sovereign Proof Set was only minted in 1989, none have been made since and no new ones will ever be made again. Once the Royal Mint has sold out, the set 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 sets can appreciate in price considerably over a period of time and can make very good investments.
Q: Why is the 1989 4-Coin Gold Sovereign Proof Set 91.67% gold and not 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 are the coins in the 1989 4-Coin Gold Sovereign Proof Set 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 1989 Proof Sovereign, and will almost certainly be the same on future gold sovereigns.
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