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Great Britain 1902 Gold Sovereign - St. George Slaying the Dragon / King Edward VII

Price: $699.95 $469.95
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Product Description

The world's most renowned gold coin, from the heyday of the British Empire, reasonably sized and affordably priced!

Sold out at the Mint! It is not overstepping the bounds of reason to describe the Gold Sovereign as the most famous gold coin in the world. Dating to 1489 and the reign of King Henry VII of England, the sovereign has played an indispensable role in commerce and banking through the centuries of the British Empire (upon which "the sun never set"). When Ian Fleming's hero, James Bond, needed to get out of sticky situations, one tool in his kit was the 50 gold sovereigns hidden in a secret compartment in his attaché case. The Royal Mint in London (and its several branch mints scattered around the Empire) helped to satisfy the enormous worldwide demand for this keystone of trade. Before wire transfers, electronic funds, and even large denomination paper money, gold sovereigns struck during the reigns of Queen VictoriaKing Edward VII and King George V were the cornerstone of global finance and big business, universally accepted across the globe! Regrettably, times have changed and most sovereigns were subsequently melted. With its famous design of St. George slaying the dragon, every coin collector needs at least one example of this most historic of gold coins!

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Great_Britain_1817_First_Gold_Sovereign_St._Geroge_and_Dragon by Italian artist, engraver and medalist Benedetto PistrucciCollecting Gold Sovereigns
Every good coin collection requires, at a minimum, one of this most historic of gold coins, as a type example. Type collectors of sovereigns try to acquire one example of each British monarch. Date runs are easily achievable (especially for individual monarchs such as King Edward VII and George V), while complete date and mintmark runs for a given monarch present more of a challenge. Some collectors choose to collect one sovereign for each branch mint that struck them during the Empire, while more adventurous collectors will focus on a single mintmark, acquiring one of each date struck at a particular mint. (Sovereigns without a mint mark were struck at the Royal Mint's London facility.) Regardless of how you choose to collect, gold sovereigns represent an historic and rewarding series of gold coins, large enough to contain a significant quantity of gold, but not so large as to be cost prohibitive. One could say that, nearly 200 years after the first modern sovereign was struck (in 1817), they are still the perfect size gold coin in every respect!

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St. George Slaying the Dragon - The Famous Design and Its Designer
St._George_Slaying_Dragon_by_Hans_Von_AachenBenedetto Pistrucci (1783-1855) was a distinguished Italian gem engraver, medalist and coin engraver who became Chief Medalist at the Royal Mint in England. Pistrucci created the famous St. George & the Dragon design used on British gold sovereigns and crowns first seen during the Great Recoinage of 1816. He cut the dies for the coinage from 1817; the crowns were issued in 1818, 1819 and 1820. Pistrucci's involvement with the coinage ceased in 1825 but he continued at the Mint until 1849 as a medalist. He also engaged in private work as a cameo- and intaglio-maker, commanding high prices for his work, and turned out the occasional bust. Besides St. George Slaying the Dragon, Pistrucci's other masterpiece is undoubtedly the massive 140.8 mm, 677.5 g Waterloo Medal, which took over 30 years to complete!

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The legend of the knightly St. George slaying the dragon, and thereby saving the kingdom and its princess, dates to medieval times, with origins lost in the mists of history. The sword with which St. George slew the dragon is traditionally named called Ascalon, (which recalls the city of Ashkelon, in the Middle East, and which figures in the legend). Not coincidentally, Prime Minister Winston Churchill named the airplane he used personally during World War II "Ascalon". St. George is the patron saint of England, so when the Pistrucci was called upon for a design for the Gold Sovereign, his inspired genius and superb artistry produced the gold beauty we so admire today, and the rest, as they say, is history. This gold sovereign contains exactly 113 grains (7.322 g or .2354 troy ounces) of pure gold, as sovereigns have for the past two hundred years, and will grade a nice extra fine to about uncirculated.

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St. George mounted on horseback, attired as a classical soldier and armed with a gladius or Roman short sword, slaying the dragon. This design, one of the most famous in numismatic history, was created by the Italian medalist Benedetto Pistrucci. The date is indicated in the exergue below the vignette, with the designer's initials B.P. to the right of the date.

His Majesty, King Edward VII of England, in profile facing right. This portrait was executed by the engraver G.W. DeSaulles. The legend EDWARDVS VII D. G. BRITT. OMN. REX F. D. IND. IMP. translates as "Edward VII, King of all Britons, Defender of the Faith and Emperor of India by the Grace of God".

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Country Great Britain (United Kingdom)
Mint British Royal Mint - London
Year of Issue     1902
Face Value One Pound Sterling
Weight 7.9881 g
Diameter 22.05 mm
Finish Circulation or Business Strike
Composition .9167 Fine (22-Karat) Gold
Edge Reeded (milled, serrated)
Artist Benedetto Pistrucci (obverse)
G.W. DeSaulles (reverse)
Packaging Archival Quality Mylar Holder

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