2016 Proof Gold Sovereign : James Butler Portrait
Queen Elizabeth II marked her 90th birthday in 2016 and the Royal Mint made an extra special gold Sovereign to mark the occasion. For only the second time on gold Sovereigns, a commemorative portrait was used.
The obverse shows the Butler Portrait, a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by renowned sculptor James Butler MBE RA. The image was also used on the half-Sovereign and quarter Sovereign but was not used on any circulating coinage. The 2016 BU Sovereign still used the Jody Clark portrait.
Only 7,495 were made available for individual release and the Royal Mint quickly sold out of these exclusive coins. They are a clear requirement for any gold Sovereign collection.
Hand Finished to Perfection
Proof coins have a mirror-like finish. They are almost hand made, with appreciable care. When the coin itself is 'struck' (i.e. when the images are pressed into the metal), it is done so multiple times (up to six) to ensure the image definition and detail are outstanding. On average, it takes about five times longer to produce a proof Sovereign as it does to produce a bullion Sovereign.
The result is that the 2016 Gold Sovereign Proof is just about perfect and is ideal for coin collectors.
This extra care incurs considerable manufacturing overhead and a proof Sovereign will therefore cost more than the gold content of the coin; but it will also attract a high re-sale price if you do decide to sell it. And there are strong markets for these coins.
Description of the 2016 Gold Sovereign Proof
The Obverse (front, heads) has Queen Elizabeth II's 6th portrait by James Butler, created especially for Her Majesty's 90th Birthday celebrations. Other than in 1989 (the 500th anniversary of the gold Sovereign special issue when the Queen's portrait was not used), the Butler Portrait is the only other commemorative image used on a gold Sovereign.
The Reverse (back, tails) of the 2016 Gold Sovereign Proof coins is that of the classical portrayal of St George slaying the Dragon, designed by Benedetto Pistrucci and digitally remastered for today's coinage. St George, the Patron Saint of England, is on horseback, sword in hand. On the floor to the left is a broken spear from a previous offensive.
Pistrucci's depiction dates back to 1817. He designed and engraved the artwork himself and was paid 100 guineas for his services, equivalent to about £8,000 today and that sounds like the Royal Mint got a bit of a bargain there.
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why is the 2016 Gold Sovereign Proof 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 2016 Gold Sovereign Proof, and will almost certainly be the same on future gold Sovereigns.
Q: Why is a Sovereign 22 Carat Gold and Not Pure Gold?
A: 22 carat coins have a gold content of 91.67%, which is composed of 11/12ths gold and 1/12th copper. Adding the copper makes a gold alloy that is far more harder wearing than pure gold, so the coin will last longer in circulation. Remember, the Sovereign was designed as a working coin, it used to be handled on a daily basis, it was THE one-pound coin.
Q: Does a Limited Mintage matter?
A: It can make a big difference. The 2016 Gold Sovereign Proof was only be minted in 2016 and then only to the mintage limit. There will never be any more of the 2016 coins minted again. This can affect the future value of your Sovereign as it increases the scarcity of the coin. Once the Royal Mint has sold out, the coin can only be obtained from the free market where rarity usually has a premium price.
Q: Is this 2016 Gold Sovereign Proof genuine?
A: Yes, and we guarantee it. With high value coins and investments such as the 2016 Gold Sovereign Proof, 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.
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