Sovereign of 1817

The history of UK Bullion Coins – Sovereign and Britannia

Although The Royal Mint is enjoying a new focus on bullion, UK bullion coins have hundreds of years of history.

The Royal Mint’s 1,100 year history of producing fine coins make it uniquely placed to offer bullion buyers the security and reassurance that they demand.

The origin of UK bullion, The Gold Sovereign

Quality assured by Act of Parliament, the first gold Sovereign was struck in 1489 by order of King Henry VII and took its name from the regal portrait of the Monarch that appeared on its obverse – a tradition that is observed to this day.

UK bullion coin - Sovereign of 1817
Sovereign of 1817 showing Pistrucci’s original design with
St George holding a broken lance.

Over the centuries, its reputation grew, until the Sovereign became known as ‘the chief coin in the world’. In fact, the gold Sovereign was a recognised currency in more than 20 countries during the 19th century and still enjoys immense status throughout the world.

Yet bullion coins from The Royal Mint are guaranteed by more than simply 1,100 years of history and integrity. The specification of every Sovereign is ensured by the Coin Act of 1816, which ensures the gold content is guaranteed to four decimal places, as well as the annual Trial of the Pyx, whereby every new coin stands trial before a jury of 12 independent experts and assayers.

It is this unrivalled history, reputation and reliability that combine to ensure that the Sovereign offers the bullion market something that no other coin can – absolute confidence in its gold content and weight, accurate to four decimal places.

Those who know the story of the Sovereign will be familiar with its illustrious history. It is certainly gratifying to know that the Sovereign has endured the rigours of the centuries to still reign as the king of coins. It stands for unrivalled quality and that is, of course, the very essence of the Sovereign, providing the key to its enduring popularity both at home and abroad.

The Bullion Britannia: created exclusively for the international bullion market

The Britannia coin was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1987, in order to satisfy global demand for UK bullion coins offering exactly one ounce of fine gold and silver.

Uk bullion - The 2012 Brilliant Uncirculated Britannia
The 2012 Brilliant Uncirculated Britannia – struck in Britannia silver, a higher standard silver than sterling, it contains a full ounce of fine silver.

Now in their 25th year, these precious coins continue to play a key role in global bullion markets, as well as representing both the pride and the probity of the United Kingdom across the world.

A new specification Britannia bullion 1oz gold (99.99% purity) and silver (99.9% purity) has been devised, creating a more refined product. Longer-term developments include a precious metal vaulting facility for bullion customers to store coins purchased from us. The Royal Mint is a highly secure facility guarded by the MOD Police, so this will provide a unique and ideal storage option for those who want to protect their gold in the best way possible.

2012 will see us take a proactive approach to acquiring new customers through developing our bullion strategy, and refining everything from products to packaging in order to keep our Sovereign and Britannia coins at the forefront of quality for the world’s bullion markets.

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