2017 Uncirculated Sovereign with Privy Mark

Author: Lawrence Chard - Director and Expert Numismatist

Published: 10 Dec 2016

Last Updated: 1 Aug 2019

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In 2017, we celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the Modern Sovereign. The British sovereign is the original pound coin and is a favourite with coin collectors and investors. Issued in both uncirculated and proof finishes, the 2017 coins feature elements which are both iconic and new.  

The Introduction of the Modern Sovereign - The 1817 Sovereign

To tackle a major shortage of coins and to stabilise currency, the British government ordered the Coinage Act of 1816. As a result of this a series of coins were issued in 1817 which became the foundation for British coins until decimalisation in 1971. 

One of the most important coins to be introduced was the sovereign. Struck in 22 carat gold with a standard weight of 7.9881g, this gold coin continued to be used in Britain as a pound coin until the First World War. 

Designed by the talented Italian sculptor, Benedetto Pistrucci, the sovereign featured the St George and the Dragon engraving which has become one of the most iconic coin designs of all time. 

The 2017 Sovereign - The Uncirculated Sovereign

Elizabeth II 2017 Sovereign - Uncirculated finish. The reverse bears a privy mark to the left of the date.

Elizabeth II 2017 Sovereign

The 2017 uncirculated sovereign is causing a stir. This coin features the iconic St George and the Dragon engraving on the reverse.

George IV 1821 Sovereign

This larger design was introduced in 1821 on the George IV sovereign and continues to be seen on sovereigns today.

The uncirculated sovereign has the addition of a privy mark to the left of the date on the reverse. This privy mark consists of a quartered shield with the number 200 above. The date is slightly smaller than usual to accommodate the design feature.

2017 Uncirculated Sovereign - The Privy Mark

The 2017 sovereign is already showing that it is going to be a best seller with coin collectors and investors. It should be noted that the uncirculated sovereigns are bullion coins which are sold at a small premium over their intrinsic metal value. They are struck once and may have small imperfections on the surface. It may be that a similar design will also be issued as another proof coin in 2017 and if you are seeking a high quality finish you may need to look at investing in the proof sovereign. We will update you when we receive more information.

The 2017 Proof Sovereign Collection

To commemorate the bi-centennial anniversary of the sovereign, two designs have been issued; the 2017 Proof Sovereign Collection and the 2017 Uncirculated Sovereign.

2017 Proof Sovereign - The Reverse

The 2017 Proof Sovereign Collection features a close representation of the original 1817 sovereign. The reverse bears the same design that was first seen on the 1817 George III sovereign, complete with the wide garter and the motto of The Order of the Garter 'HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE'. There appears to be one fundamental difference; the lack of initials WWP in the buckle of the garter. These are the initials of William Wellesley Pole who was the Master of the Mint at the time

1819 George III Crown, close up showing WWP initials engraved in the buckle

2017 Proof Sovereign

The obverse features Jody Clark's fifth definite UK coin portrait of Elizabeth II. For the first time since 1887, the obverse bears the date. 

1817 Half Sovereign

We were a little disappointed that the 2017 Proof Half Sovereign didn't feature the shield reverse that featured on the original 1817 half sovereign but as there was no quarter sovereign until 2009 and the quintuple and double sovereigns weren't introduced until 1820 we accept the need for some artistic licence.

What is a Privy Mark?

A privy mark is a small design feature on a coin which is used to differentiate or commemorate an anniversary or other special event. It can also identify a mint, source or engraver.

Other coins have featured privy marks  include the Canadian Maples, Kookaburras, Eagles, Netherland 10 Guilder and Panda coins.

1817 Half Sovereign Reverse 

More Information about Sovereigns - You can find out more about the sovereign and Capital Gains Tax exempt coins by reading the following blogs:

Capital Gains Tax on Bullion - Do I Pay This?

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