The Royal Mint released Proof versions of its annual gold sovereign for 2019, featuring the iconic Benedetto Pistrucci design of St. George slaying the dragon. These Proof versions are offered as separate editions and exclusive sets in a limited mintage and at a high premium. Boolean versions of the coin will be released later.
Due to the Napoleonic Wars in the early 18th century, UK faced a shortage of silver. The condition of circulating coins deteriorated which led to the re-coinage and exchange of 1816 and 1817. The Royal Mint shifted its operations to Tower Hill that had modern steam-powered machinery. A new legislation set the gold standard for striking coins. The 20-shilling piece was brought back and renamed as pound or sovereign. The old 21-shilling gold guinea circulated concurrently and there was a need to create a clear demarcation between the two coins.
Benedetto Pistrucci created the St. George and the Dragon design which was appreciated worldwide. Over the years, a few new designs were adopted, but the 200-year-old design has always been the favourite. The new interpretation of St. George was remarkably different from the Greek version. St. George is more muscular and is not weighed down with the chain and armour. Pistrucci came to London in 1815 and worked for Prince Regent. He was not well-known in Britain initially, but he soon proved his skills and found several supporters. His engraving talent was noticed and he was asked to create the designs for the new gold and silver coins of George III.
The obverse features an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. New sovereign coins weigh 7.98 grams and are made of .9167 fine gold. Quarter-, half- and double-sovereign coins are also being offered separately and as a part of different sets.
Image Courtesy: The Royal Mint