2005 Gold Proof Sovereign. Boxed with Certificate of Authenticity
The 2005 Gold Proof Sovereign from The Royal Mint, depicts patron saint of England, St George. Only 12,500 of these individually boxed coins were minted during 2005, making it highly collectible. The first ever Sovereign coin was commissioned by Henry VII, and by each Tudor Monarch until the reign of James I, when the Sovereign disappeared for 200 years. 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. Today, the Sovereign is considered to be one of the world's oldest coins still in production and a pinnacle of minting excellence.
The ancient legend of 'St George and the dragon' dates back to the reign of William of Malmesbury, during the third century, where inspiration for the 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 premises. Since 1222, St George has been celebrated on the 23rd April every year in England, the country of which the legend is the patron saint. This is despite St George being unlikely to have ever been deemed of English descent. Mythical St George is also the patron saint of Aragon, Catalonia, Georgia, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, Germany and Greece; and of Moscow, Istanbul, Genoa and Venice (second to Saint Mark).
This new coin design by internationally-renowned artist Timothy Noad highlights the interplay between the legendary characters; St George, his horse and the dragon. Noad refreshed the existing depiction of the legendary tale by Benedetto Pistrucci, intertwining the anatomies of the horse and the dragon. The design's focal point is the heraldic red crusader shield borne by St George, which is also the patriotic England flag. The coin's obverse presents the 4th Portrait of Her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth II, by Ian Rank-Broadley.