Saint George and the Dragon
A few days ago I bought a small lot of golden world coins from the 19th century. One of these coins was a golden sovereign. I looked at the iconography of the coin and I liked it more then I realized before. I liked the story that was told by just one picture, the picture of Saint George and the Dragon. This picture shows the power of a coin. The power to tell a story. Because of this I will discuss the golden sovereign designed by Benedetto Pistrucci.
First Golden Sovereigns
The first golden sovereigns were minted in 1817. They were not directly very popular. Instead of this the opposite became truth. In 1817 2,347,230 golden sovereigns were minted. In 1818 only 3,574 were minted! This was a huge reduction. Due economic reasons the golden sovereign became more popular since the 1820’s and onwards and they are still minted today. Of course there are rare coins due there low mintage after 1820. For example during the first world war.
1817 Great Britain George III Sovereign
Catalog: KM-674, S-3785.
NGC Certification Number: 4692570-002
Designer Benedetto Pistrucci
The first golden sovereign was designed by Benedetto Pistrucci he was an Italian gem-engraver and coin engraver he has also made marvellous medals. The golden sovereign with Saint George and the Dragon design is probably his most famous design by the general public. Unfortunately the artist never get the credits they deserve for their job. For some reason it seems irrelevant for a lot of collectors. I want to give everyone the well-intended advice to do research on the designers of the coins. It gives a great new dimension to your passion, coin collecting.
5 Sovereign 2017. Gibraltar Elizabeth II.
200th Anniversary of the gold coin design St. Georg and the Dragon. New design by great-great-grandniece Angela Pistrucci by original designer Benedetto Pistrucci (1783-1855).
Mintage: 499 pieces. In wooden case with certificate and book.
The iconography of the first golden sovereigns was not typical for his time. It didn’t had the heraldic design of the former standard gold coin of the United Kingdom, the guinea. It has a neoclassical design. The obverse bears the head of the monarch, George III. It has the legend GEORGIUS III D.F. BRITANNIAR. REX F.D. The idea of the obverse never changed, it bears until today the head of the monarch.
The reverse has Saint George on horseback. Saint George does not wear any armour besides on his lower legs and feet. He also has a helmet, with, on early issues, a plume of hair on it. He also wears a cloak which is fastened by a nice fibula. The dragon lies wounded on the ground and is highly possible facing death. I think the horse is depicted so perfect. The horse attacks and flees in the same time on the same picture. A real piece of art is shown in this coin.
Different other types of Sovereigns:
Different other types were designed after the type of Pitrucci. But for me his design is the best. It tells a whole story in one picture, the story of Saint George and the Dragon. Or at least the end of the story. The golden sovereigns are famous all over the world by collectors and investors. You can collect them by year, mint or design. But I think they fit in al collections of modern coins.
1829 Great Britain George IV Sovereign
Catalog:: S-3801 2016 Spink
1860 Australia Queen Victoria Sydney Sovereign
Fully lustrous with nearly perfect fields. This is very rare condition for this coin.
Written by Joël van Dam, Owner of Joëlnumismatics.
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