The sovereign was a gold coin of the Kingdom of England first issued in 1489 under King Henry VII. While the coin typically had a nominal value of one pound sterling and one Shilling, or twenty one shillings, the sovereign was primarily an official piece of bullion and had no mark of value on its face. Nonetheless, it was the country's first coin to be valued at one pound and one shilling
The name derives from the large size and majestic portrait of the monarch (the "sovereign"), with the obverse of the first sovereigns showing the king's full face, sitting on a throne, while the reverse shows the Royal Arms of England and a Tudor double rose.
The first sovereigns were of 23-carat (95.83%) gold and weighed 240 grains, or half a troy ounce. King Henry VIII lessened the gold content to 22 carats, or 91.67%. Although this was part of what is called The Great Debasement, 22 carats became the gold coin standard in both the British Isles and later the United States, known as crown gold.
It had a diameter of 42 millimetres (1.7 in), and weighed 15.55 grams (0.500 oz t), twice the weight of the existing gold coin, the ryal. The new coin was struck in response to a large influx of gold into Europe from West Africa in the 1480s, and Henry at first called it the double ryal, but soon changed the name to sovereign. Too great in value to have any practical use in circulation, the original sovereign probably served as a presentation piece to be given to dignitaries. A double sovereign in the form of a piedfort was occasionally created for such purposes too.
The inscription reads A DNO' FACTU' EST ISTUD ET EST MIRAB' IN OCULIS NRS - abbreviation for A DOMINO FACTUM EST ISTUD ET EST MIRABILE IN OCULIS NOSTRIS (Latin for "This is the Lord's doing and it is marvellous in our eyes", from Psalm 118).
King James I, when he came to the English throne in 1603, issued a sovereign in the year of his accession,but the following year, soon after he proclaimed himself King of Great Britain, he issued a proclamation for a new twenty-shilling piece called the unite, symbolising that James had merged the Scottish and English crowns.
The unite, and then the other short-lived laurel and broad, therefore took the sovereign's place in the 17th century, before the guinea became established. However, the guinea changed value to 21 shillings in 1717. It was not until 1817 that the 20 shilling (one pound sterling) coin was re-introduced — again named the sovereign, now a British coin, which continues to be issued to the present day.
The standard circulating coinage of the United Kingdom, British Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories is denominated in pounds sterling, and ranges in value from one penny to two pounds. Since decimalisation, on 15 February 1971, the pound has been divided into 100 (new) pence. Before decimalisation, twelve pence made a shilling, and twenty shillings made a pound. British coins are minted by the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, Wales. The Royal Mint also commissions the coins' designs.
The double florin, or four-shilling piece, was a British coin produced by the Royal Mint between 1887 and 1890. One of the shortest-lived of all British coin denominations, it was struck in only four years. Its obverse, designed by Joseph Boehm and engraved by Leonard Charles Wyon, depicts Queen Victoria, whilst the reverse, featuring national symbols of the United Kingdom, was designed by Wyon based on the coinage of Charles II.
The Spur Royal was an extremely rare English gold coin issued in the reign of King James I. The coin is a development of the earlier Rose Noble, or Ryal which was worth ten shillings when issued by Kings Edward IV and Henry VII, and fifteen shillings when issued by Queens Mary and Elizabeth I.
The five pounds gold coin is a British coin, produced in several periods since the early 19th century. Since 1990 it is also known as the five-sovereign piece or quintuple sovereign as it is equivalent to five sovereign coins and shares the alloy and design features of the sovereign.
The guinea was a coin, minted in Great Britain between 1663 and 1814, that contained approximately one-quarter of an ounce of gold. The name came from the Guinea region in West Africa, from where much of the gold used to make the coins was sourced. It was the first English machine-struck gold coin, originally worth one pound sterling, equal to twenty shillings, but rises in the price of gold relative to silver caused the value of the guinea to increase, at times to as high as thirty shillings. From 1717 to 1816, its value was officially fixed at twenty-one shillings.
The Rose Ryal is a gold coin of the Kingdom of England issued in the reign of King James I and is now very rare. The coin is really a two-ryal coin worth thirty shillings and is a development of the earlier fine sovereign of Queen Elizabeth I.
The British crown, the successor to the English crown and the Scottish dollar, came into being with the union of the kingdoms of England and Scotland in 1707. As with the English coin, its value was five shillings.
The sovereign is a gold coin of the United Kingdom that has a nominal value of one pound sterling. Struck since 1817, it was originally a circulating coin that was accepted in Britain and elsewhere in the world; it is now a bullion coin and is sometimes mounted in jewellery. In addition, circulation strikes and proof examples are often collected for their numismatic value. In most recent years, it has borne the design of Saint George and the Dragon on the reverse; the initials of the designer, Benedetto Pistrucci, are visible to the right of the date.
The half sovereign is an English and later, British gold coin with a nominal value of half a pound sterling, or ten shillings. It is half the weight of its counterpart 'full' sovereign coin.
The pound Scots was the unit of currency in the Kingdom of Scotland before the kingdom unified with the Kingdom of England in 1707. It was introduced by David I, in the 12th century, on the model of English and French money, divided into 20 shillings, each of 12 pence. The Scottish currency was later debased relative to sterling and, by the time of James III, the pound sterling was valued at four pounds Scots.
The Australian pound was the currency of Australia from 1910 until 14 February 1966, when it was replaced by the Australian dollar. As with other £sd currencies, it was subdivided into 20 shillings, each of 12 pence.
Australian coins refers to the coins which are or were in use as Australian currency. During the early days of the colonies that formed Australia, foreign as well as British currency was used, but in 1910, a decade after federation, Australian coins were introduced. Australia used pounds, shillings and pence until 1966, when it adopted the decimal system with the Australian dollar divided into 100 cents. With the exception of the first Proclamation Coinage and the holey dollars, all Australian coins remain legal tender despite being withdrawn from circulation.
The Jamaican pound was the official currency of Jamaica between 1840 and 1969. It circulated as a mixture of British currency and local issues and was always equal to the British pound. The Jamaican pound was also used by the Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands.
The shilling was a coin worth one twentieth of a pound sterling, or twelve pence. It was first minted in the reign of Henry VII as the testoon, and became known as the shilling, from the Old English scilling, sometime in the mid-16th century. It circulated until 1990. The word bob was sometimes used for a monetary value of several shillings, e.g. "ten-bob note". Following decimalisation on 15 February 1971 the coin had a value of five new pence, and a new coin of the same value but labelled as "five new pence" or "five pence" was minted with the same size as the shilling until 1990, after which the shilling no longer remained legal tender. It was made from silver from its introduction in or around 1503 until 1946, and thereafter in cupronickel.
The Great Recoinage of 1816 was an attempt by the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland to re-stabilise its currency, the pound sterling, after the economic difficulties brought by the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars.
The crown, originally known as the "crown of the double rose", was an English coin introduced as part of King Henry VIII's monetary reform of 1526, with a value of five shillings.
The double sovereign is a gold coin of the United Kingdom, with a nominal value of two pounds sterling or 40 shillings.
The history of Australian currency commences with the first European settlement of Australia on 26 January 1788. At the time, New South Wales was a British colony, and the English currency was in formal circulation, though the supply was insufficient and alternative forms of exchange were resorted to. A national Australian currency was created in 1910, as the Australian Pound, which in 1966 was decimalized as the Australian Dollar.
The Jubilee coinage or Jubilee head coinage are British coins with an obverse featuring a depiction of Queen Victoria by Joseph Edgar Boehm. The design was placed on the silver and gold circulating coinage beginning in 1887, and on the Maundy coinage beginning in 1888. The depiction of Victoria wearing a crown that was seen as too small was widely mocked, and was replaced in 1893. The series saw the entire issuance of the double florin (1887–1890) and, in 1888, the last issue for circulation of the groat, or fourpence piece, although it was intended for use in British Guiana. No bronze coins were struck with the Jubilee design.
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