Respected, and recognised all over the world, the Sovereign became synonymous with Britain herself.
At the turn of the century it was one of the world’s most trusted and respected coins. Yet even the Sovereign could not fail to be shaken by a conflict as devastating as the First World War which saw the end of the Sovereign as a coin in daily circulation. Production of Sovereigns in Great Britain almost stopped from 1917, only recommencing briefly in 1925. The coin would not be issued in great numbers again until 1957.
Nevertheless Sovereigns continued to play a vital part in international movements of gold and remained a favourite coin with investors because their weight and fineness were regarded as completely reliable.
Although out of production at the time, the Sovereign’s universal recognition as a currency of undoubtable value led to it being included in the Survival Kits of Special Operations agents in World War Two. Were the agents to find themselves in trouble, the Sovereign was likely to buy them out of many potentially dangerous situations!
For the same reason, gold Sovereigns were issued by the Ministry Of Defence (MOD) during Operation Granby in the Gulf War. At the end of the war, 16,289 Sovereigns were safely returned by military personnel, who fortunately had no cause to use them. Some of these coins are on display in the Imperial War Museum.
In the late twentieth century, the Sovereign entered popular culture in a way it never had previously. James Bond carried 50 gold Sovereigns hidden in the lining of his attache case, see the video below for the best way to carry your gold!
Andy McNab wrote about his experience of paying his way out of trouble with Sovereigns in his best-selling book ‘Bravo Two Zero’.
The Sovereign is now made at The Royal Mint in Llantrisant, where the techniques used to produce the coins have been refined, but the standards against which they are judged have remained constant.
A range of Sovereigns are available in £5, full, half and quarter sizes, and in proof and brilliant uncirculated finishes
We also sell the Sovereign as a bullion coin for those who wish to trade in gold with the added security of dealing in British coins made by The Royal Mint.
If you would like to own a piece of history, produced by one of the oldest companies in the world, you can buy yours today at royalmint.com