Gold Great Britain Elizabeth II – Decimal (1974, 1976, 1978-84)

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Gold Great Britain Sovereign Elizabeth II – Decimal Years (Random 1974, 1976, 1978-84)

The British Gold Sovereign continues to be globally recognized as one of the most enduring of official bullion coinage of all time. Its royal history and distinctive design makes it a favorite among collectors, and a must have for investors. The modern period of the Sovereign is clearly distinguished by the date-ranges of each of the reigning monarchs featured on the obverse of the coins. This Queen Elizabeth II Gold Sovereign – Decimal Years represents the second design release.

The lengthy reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has produced six distinct designs of the bullion Sovereign. This more mature Queen Elizabeth II Sovereign – Decimal Years release captures the Queen some 20 years into her reign. It is often referred to as the “Decimal Years.” Historically, British currency was broken down into Pounds, Shillings, and Pence, which were further divided into pennies, and other smaller denominations. The popular movement to update the currency actually began in 1841 and was also linked to bringing in the metric system. The “Decimalisation” of British currency was finally enacted in 1971. With the currency change, a refresh of the design was also desired.

The new portrait of Queen Elizabeth for the decimal years was designed by Arnold Machin for the inaugral release in 1974. It is the second official portrait designed to be displayed on currency. This lovely and elegant design displays a maturing Queen Elizabeth II, now graced by “Queen Mary’s Tiara”, given her by her grandmother. The date-range includes 1974, 1976, 1978-84. Arnold Machin’s portrait is a beautiful representation of the Queen during this period and is highly sought-after by collectors. The reverse features the timeless interpretation by Benedetto Pistrucci of the legend of Saint George and the Dragon.


  • Queen Elizabeth II Gold Sovereign – Decimal Years (Random 1974, 1976, 1978-84).
  • This item will be pulled from random dates in the specific date range.
  • The second official portrait of Queen Elizabeth II for use on currency.
  • Contains 0.2354 troy oz of .9167 fine gold.
  • Minted to Bullion standard.
  • Obverse: Displays a more mature portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, designed by Arnold Machin.
  • Reverse: Features the classic design of St George and the dragon by Benedetto Pistrucci.

Historical Reflections on the Gold Sovereign

The British Gold Sovereign rightly traces its royal lineage back to 1489 and the authorization of King Henry VII of a new 20 shilling gold coin. With the regal engraving of the king seated upon his throne, this 20 shilling piece quickly became known as “the Sovereign.” Perhaps the real story begins to unfold with the 1817 introduction of the new Sovereign. This was a bold step, definitively placing the 20 shilling Gold Sovereign at the head of the “Recoinage” of the British Empire.

Sovereign Strength Reflected in the Currency

Enlisting the master skills of Benedetto Pistrucci, the coin’s design was brought vividly to life. Pistrucci’s contribution was the reverse design, that to this day has not lost the form and beauty of his original engraving. His interpretation of the legend of Saint George and the Dragon depicts a strength that deserved to be emblazoned upon the British Gold Sovereign. Although there have been minor revisions during the ensuing years, nothing has been lost of its original magnificence. Every ancient empire struck their coinage with images of power and strength. Although in more modern times, much has been lost regarding the the images portrayed by many of the nations of the world on their official coinage, the British Gold Sovereign is one that has continued to stand strong.

The obverse of the Sovereign has consistently displayed an effigy of the current reigning monarch. These include Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, King George V, and since 1957, Queen Elizabeth II. Each of the monarchs represented are stunning examples of fine bullion coinage. Although the modernization of each from Victoria, on through Elizabeth II is clear, the wonderful depictions of each period are true to their times. This makes each one a vital contribution to a complete British Gold Sovereign collection!

Product ID: 3801499992
Year Released: Varies
Origin: World Bullion
Metal Composition: Gold
Face Weight: 0 troy oz
Standardized Weight: 0.2354 oz
Purity: 0.9167
Certification Grade: BU
First Strike: 1
Signature Series: 1
Denomination: 1 Sovereign
Diameter: 22.05 mm
Thickness: 1.52 mm
Impaired: 1


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