The Elizabeth II Decimal Portrait Sovereign is one version of arguably the world’s best-known coin and the Royal Mint’s flagship issue, the Sovereign, which has a history dating back to 1489.
The obverse features the Queen Elizabeth second portrait, while the reverse displays the classic St.George and Dragon design bt Benedetto Pistucci.
The coins will date between 1974-1984.
The picture illustrates the type of coin you’ll receive, not the exact item.
All our pre-owned coins undergo strict quality checks by our team of experts to ensure their condition is excellent. Coins will be carefully packed loose, but If you’d like to further protect your coins, we offer Sovereign coin capsules
Manufactured by the Royal Mint, one of the six main types of Elizabeth II Sovereigns is the Queen Elizabeth II Decimal Portrait sovereign coin.
Since decimalisation in 1971, there have been three coin portraits of the Queen, and this coin is fondly known as the ‘Second Portrait’, because the obverse of the coin has the second portrait of Her Majesty to feature on a Sovereign. The reverse proudly depicts St George’s epic clash with the dragon. The coin contains 7.98 grams of 22 carat gold. These ‘second portrait’ coins were issued for nine of the years between 1974 and 1984.
Interestingly, the second portrait was ready to be used in 1968 (and was in fact first used on 10p & 5p coins from that year) but as no sovereigns were minted between 1969 – 73, the first year that this second portrait was utilised on a sovereign was 1974.
This second royal portrait was Arnold Machin’s fine handiwork, and was chosen by the Queen herself in 1964. Machin was made a Royal Academician in 1956 and went on to create the obverse and reverse designs of the 1977 Silver Jubilee crown.
Decimal Day was 15 February 1971 and marks the entire UK monetary system being updated to replace the old Pounds, Shillings and Pence format. It was designed to modernise our cash system and bring us more in line with Europe, but the new system was met with confusion and reluctance. Unlike single coin or note updates now, the Royal Mint had a massive challenge on their hands. It began with educating the public and businesses as to how the new system would work. They then had to pre-make various denomination of coin in preparation for the launch. The 6 billion new coins required, provided the catalyst for the Royal Mint to move from their modest premises in Tower Hill to more substantial headquarters in Wales.
The Elizabeth II Decimal Portrait Sovereign offers huge nostalgia to those born in the seventies and eighties, the decimal portrait is instantly recognisable as a depiction with charm and grace. As an investment, it offers the chance to own tax free gold coins at low premiums. Offering more history, rarity and desirability than the subsequent Elizabeth portraits, yet with very modest premiums compared to older coins from the George, Edward and Victoria eras. Small enough to offer great divisibility, this coin is allocated regularly into our Director’s Pick mixed portfolio. It’s a great coin to own as part of a varied UK coin holding, or as a singular investment.