St George, patron saint of England on coins

30 Mar 2018  Fri

Centuries ago, there was a Roman soldier called George, he fought in the name of the Roman King. There came a time when he refused to follow the king’s order to persecute Christians. For this treason, he was tortured and beheaded in Lydda in 303 CE. This action made George a Marty. The tale of his faith, bravery and courage spread like wildfire. Churches and Basilica were named after him, Pope Gelasius I canonised him as a saint.

St George made his first appearance on coins in 1818, due to the British coinage Act commenced by the British government. An Italian sculpture Pistrucci created the design of St George, his design became one of the most iconic engravings on coins. St George is depicted mounted on a rearing horse with a broken spear with a dragon writhing beneath the horse hooves. The design was set within the Garter of the order.

This design of St George went under many variations. In 1818, George II silver crown depicted small sword rather than the broken spear. The wide garter was removed in 1821 and the design of St George now covered the whole sovereign. This design is followed till date. On the 25th anniversary of King George V’s coronation, a modernised design of St George appears on the silver crown. In coming years, designs with different variations of this gallant saint appeared on coins. The above-shown coin was issued in 1912, during the reign of King George V.

This saint has a long association with England and its army. St George was a symbol of resisting during Muslim invasion. During that time soldiers who joined Richard, the Lionheart wore St George cross over their crusade. He is seen as the symbol of power and the most celebrated military saint in history.

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Image Courtesy: Mintage World

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