The Sovereign is the world’s most renowned and widely recognised commemorative coin. First struck in India in 1918 and then again every year since 2013, the Indian Sovereign is a symbol of unrivalled excellence and integrity.
The History of the Sovereign
The Sovereign was originally struck in 1489 during the reign of King Henry VII to be a statement of wealth and strength. The coin was struck from 916.7 fine gold in order to withstand the daily usage of a coin in circulation. The Sovereign has been struck from this high grade gold ever since and still is to this day. In 1918, the Royal Mint opened a branch in the Indian government’s mint in Bombay. The branch was only open for less than a year but in that time over 1 million Indian Sovereigns were struck. These Sovereigns were produced using the exact same methods and tooling used in the Royal Mint, ensuring the superior quality and standards were to be identical.
The quality and weight of the gold used to strike a Sovereign is guaranteed and assured using a quality control assessment established over 750 years ago. This is called the Trial of the Pyx, a method used to ensure the purity of the 22-carat gold dating back to at least 1282. The weight of each Sovereign is also guaranteed within five decimal points, in accordance with the UK Coinage Act of 1971.
The Indian Sovereign
In 2013, the Royal Mint awarded an exclusive licence to MMTC-PAMP India allowing them to manufacture the Sovereign. MMTC-PAMP is a fully integrated gold and silver refinery and minting facility. The state of the art manufacturing facility awarded to the honour and prestige of striking the Indian Sovereign operates under the technical supervision of PAMP Switzerland. PAMP Switzerland is one of just three global referees accredited by the LBMA and LPPM.
The symbol of quality and excellence
The commemorative Sovereign is the flagship coin of the Royal Mint and it is recognised globally as a symbol of utmost craftsmanship and excellence. The Indian Sovereigns produced by MMTC-PAMP India bear the famous “I” mintmark to indicate they have been struck in India. This same mintmark was used in 1918 and now since 2013 to verify the integrity of the Sovereign. Customers buying the new Indian Sovereign now have an assurance that the Sovereign they purchase is genuine.
The Sovereign’s iconic design has been relatively unchanged since it was first introduce as a circulation coin in 1489. World-renowned engraver Benedetto Pistrucci was commissioned to create a design to embody what the Sovereign stood for. He chose the legend of St George and the dragon, a tale of good overcoming evil and unwavering loyalty and devotion to the United Kingdom. This design still adorns the gold Sovereign today and Pistrucci’s design has played a major role in making the Sovereign as revered as it is. The other side of the Sovereign bears the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.
The Sovereign has played a part in many traditional Indian ceremonies and festivals such as weddings, the birth of a child and harvest celebrations. The demand for this coin has previously been met by imitation coins, making the Sovereign the most replicated coin in India.