British Sovereign Gold Coin (Edward, George)

British Sovereign gold coins
Gold British Sovereign coins (kings)

Minted 1902 - 1925
Fineness: .917
Actual Gold Content: .2354 troy ounce

The first British Sovereign was minted under Tudor King Henry VII in 1489. It gets its name from that first mintage which depicts the monarch seated majestically on the throne facing outward. The current design type with St. George slaying a dragon on the reverse and the monarch on the front was introduced nearly 200 years ago in 1816 under George III. The sovereign was minted almost continuously from that date until 1932 when Britain went off the gold standard. British sovereign 'kings' minted during the reigns of Edward VII and George V are probably the most widely owned and recognized pre-1933 gold coins -- so much so that the U.S. Army included them as part of its special forces survival pack for a number of years.

Edward VII was the eldest son of Queen Victoria, and ruled Britain from 1901-1910. Queen Victoria insisted on an incredibly strict regimen for Edward, while never allowing his involvement in political affairs. As a result, Edward led a rebellious, indulgent lifestyle that many felt would compromise his ability to be an effective monarch. To the chagrin of his critics, Edward ruled peacefully and effectively during his reign, saving Britain from a budgetary crisis and strengthening relationships with European powers. He died in 1910 of a heart attack. His second son, George V succeeded his rule in 1910. George led Britain through World War I and the negative effects brought on by the US Depression of 1929-1931. English Historian Robert Lacey describes George: ". . . as his official biographer felt compelled to admit, King George V was distinguished 'by no exercise of social gifts, by no personal magnetism, by no intellectual powers. He was neither a wit nor a brilliant raconteur, neither well-read nor well-educated, and he made no great contribution to enlightened social converse. He lacked intellectual curiosity and only late in life acquired some measure of artistic taste.' He was, in other words, exactly like most of his subjects. He discovered a new job for modern kings and queens to do -- representation."

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