Once a circulation coin, the Sovereign is the oldest coin still produced today. The Sovereign was first struck over 500 years ago in 1489 during the reign of Kind Henry VII and was designed to be a statement of the wealth and strength. The Sovereign gained its name in honour of the King and has remained a symbol of prestige and strength ever since.
An Iconic Design
Engraver Benedetto Pistrucci created the iconic look of the Sovereign. Pistrucci chose the inspiring tale of St George and the dragon to adorn the face of the Sovereign, representing unwavering bravery and loyalty. Pistrucci combined the traditional tales of good triumphing over evil with Grecian style and the iconic Sovereign image was born. Instantly distinctive, the design still endures today, over 200 years later.
During the nineteenth century, the gold Sovereign was a recognised currency in more than 20 countries. In order to withstand the daily use of a circulation coin, the Sovereign was struck from 9167 gold and it is still struck from that same durable gold today.
The Indian Connection
In 1918, the Royal Mint established a branch in Bombay, within the Indian Government Mint where Sovereigns were struck using the same exacting tooling and standards practiced in the Royal Mint in London. The Bombay branch was only open for a single year, in which 1,300,000 Sovereigns were struck to meet the high demand for this exotic coin. Sovereigns from the Bombay mint were distinguished from their London counterparts by the letter “I” for India mintmark stamped above the date. All new Indian Sovereigns struck to day will also bear this specific mintmark.
With gold coins playing a key role in Indian wedding ceremonies and festivals throughout the calendar year, since 1918 is that proven near impossible for the Indian public to buy the genuine Sovereign coins and they have been forced to rely on imitations.
In 2013, The Royal Mint licenced MMTC-PAMP India to strike the commemorative Sovereign in India. The introduction of the Indian Sovereign meant that Indian people no longer had to rely on imitation coins; they had the chance to own an original. Sovereigns in India have long been a part of traditional ceremonies and celebrations. They are often the ideal gift for occasions such as engagements or the birth of a child. They symbolise a purity, beauty and integrity that only a Sovereign can match.
The Sovereign is the most replicated coin in India due to the significance placed upon it in relation to festivals and celebrations. The emotional quotient carried by the Sovereign in India is higher than any other coin, making it the most popular choice of gift for momentous and personal occasions.
Now that the Sovereign is yet again going to be struck in India, the Royal Mint and MMTC-PAMP have guaranteed the future of the Indian Sovereign and ensured that its legacy is never to be forgotten. All Sovereigns struck by MMTC-PAMP use original dies and tools made by The Royal Mint who have also provided in-depth training to the workers in the MMTC-PAMP India plant. The same skill and craftsmanship that goes into the production of all UK minted Sovereigns is provided by the MMTC-PAMP India workforce who now produce these historic coins in India, to the same independent verification and quality control processes that guarantee the quality of all UK coins.