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2002 British Gold Sovereigns Revert to Shield Reverse
The gold sovereign was first introduced in 1489, during the reign of King Henry VII. King Henry was depicted seated on a throne, and it is from this inclusion of the monarch, or sovereign, that the new coin gained its name. In 1817, under King George III, the sovereign and half sovereign were standardized at 7.99 gm. and 3.99 gm., respectively, of 917 fine gold; these specifications have continued unchanged to the present. St. George on a horse, slaying a dragon was first featured on the reverse of the sovereign; this was changed in 1825 to a shield featuring the coat-of-arms of Great Britain, which continued on gold sovereigns through the reigns of two Kings and Queen Victoria … until 1874, when the reverse returned to St. George. On the other hand, the 1817 half sovereign featured the shield, which continued until 1893, when it was replaced by St. George.

After more than a century, the 2002 gold sovereigns and half sovereigns have reverted back to the shield reverse. Mintages are limited to just 100,000 Brilliant Uncirculated coins of each denomination. It is not known whether these will be one-year types or if the new reverses will continue in the future.

Since the thrones of Hanover and Britain were separated in 1837, the Royal arms have not changed. They show England (3 lions) in the first and fourth quarters, Scotland (upright lion) in the second and Ireland (harp) in the third. The only changes over nearly two centuries have been in the shapes of the crowns used, being of a more curved pattern during the reigns of Queens Victoria (1837-1901) and Elizabeth II (1952-date) then during the reigns of the kings.

PandaAmerica and Ronald J. Gillio Inc. have been selected by the British Royal Mint as official distributors of the new 2002 gold Sovereigns and Half Sovereigns with shield reverses. No more than 100,000 Brilliant Uncirculated coins will be minted of each. The First Strikes of each denomination will be certified by PCGS in holders featuring the British flag; they will indicate the sequence in which they were minted (001-500). The first 100 numbered coins will be auctioned on e-Bay. For orders or further information call (800) 472-6327, e-mail, or write PandaAmerica, 3460 Torrance Blvd., Suite 100, Torrance, CA 90503. Click here to shop online.

Prepared by Mel Wacks

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