Issued by Henry VII in 1489, the Sovereign was the first coin in the country to be valued at a pound or 20 Shillings.
The coin was named the Sovereign, due to the seated monarch on its obverse. Only the finest gold was used to produced these examples and therefore, were used as gifts presented to allies and royalty rather than used in day-to-day commerce.
Today, it is considered a bullion piece because of the high value of the metal used. In 1817, it was brought back by William Wellesley-Pole who commissioned Italian engraver Benedetto Pistrucci to modernise its design. Pistrucci used the legend of Saint George and the Dragon as inspiration to depict George III’s defeat of Napolean at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
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