A classic gold coin reaches a milestone: Monday Morning Brief


Good morning. Welcome to the Monday Morning Brief. I’m Jeff Starck of Coin World. What coin is so famous that even James Bond
carries it? The answer, of course, is Britain’s gold
sovereign. The secret spymaster is said to carry 50 of
these small gold coins hidden inside his attache case, ready at a moment’s notice to finagle
his way out of a sticky situation. Long before the sovereign became the currency
of the realm for secret agents, the coin was issued as a propaganda piece by King Henry
VII at the tail end of the medieval period. The sovereign that debuted in 1489 was issued
for less than 200 years before being replaced by the guinea. That medieval sovereign was far different
from the coin that debuted in 1817 after a currency reform. The 19th-century version marked the introduction
of Benedetto Pistrucci’s famous image of St. George slaying the Dragon. It is the sovereign with that design that
came to be known worldwide – and would have helped Bond foil various foes while winning
over a bevy of women. And since 1817, the Pistrucci design has been
a mainstay, even if the coin has experienced its share of ups and downs. The onset of World War I forced the British
government to rely on gold more than ever, and the sovereign disappeared from circulation. The Great Depression and World War II caused
further disruption to the beloved bullion coin. The sovereign, however, received new life early on during
the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, and has continued as a bullion and collector issue since 1957. A total of 15 monarchs or special designs
feature on the modern sovereign, not counting two special designs unveiled for the 2017
anniversary. Proof examples of the new coin feature design
elements borrowed from the 1817 issue, and bullion examples bear a special anniversary
privy mark. Two hundred years on, the future looks just
as golden for Britain’s flagship bullion coin — and you don’t have to be James Bond
to get bitten by the bullion bug! Whether its precious metals, paper money,
world coins or good old American coins, we cover it all at Coin World. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, find us at
Facebook, online at CoinWorld.com and of course in print in your mailbox. For Coin World, I’m Jeff Starck. Happy collecting!

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