1996 Elizabeth II Gold Proof Sovereign
1996 proof Sovereign featuring Rapahel Maklouf's portrait of Elizabeth II.
The Story of the 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.
Designs: 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.
Pistrucci's reverse is paired with Raphael Maklouf's portrait of Her Majesty the Queen. This effigy was in use on British coinage between 1985 and 1997. Maklouf's initials - 'RDM' - appear on the truncation of Elizabeth II's neck.
Proof Finish Gold Sovereigns
Proof coins are always offered in limited numbers while their bullion counterparts are often easier to acquire. Between 1983 and 1997 no bullion Sovereigns were struck making the proof coins all the more sought after. They have a high-definition, high-contrast finish, achieved with multiple strikes of hand-prepared dies.
Only 9,110 1996 proof Sovereigns were issued by The Royal Mint, not including those in sets.
The finish is preserved by the original dark red leather presentation box that the coin comes in. Also included: a numbered certificate of authenticity.
If you're interested in purchasing 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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