Saint George and the Dragon
A few days ago I bought a small lot of 19th-century golden world coins; one of these coins was a golden sovereign. I looked at the iconography of the coin and I liked it more than I realized. I appreciated the story that was told by just one picture – the picture of Saint George and the Dragon. This design truly shows the power of a coin.
Because of this, I will discuss the golden sovereign designed by Benedetto Pistrucci.
First Golden Sovereigns
The first gold sovereigns were minted in 1817. They were not directly very popular. Despite this “humble” beginning, the opposite eventually became the truth. In 1817, a total of 2,347,230 gold sovereigns were minted; in 1818, only 3,574 were minted! This was a huge reduction. Due to economic reasons, the golden sovereign became more popular since the 1820s 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.
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- Catalog: KM-674, S-3785
- NGC Certification Number: 4692570-002
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The first gold sovereign was designed by Benedetto Pistrucci, an Italian gem and coin engraver who had already achieved continental fame for his cameos and marvelous medals. The gold sovereign with Saint George and the Dragon is probably his most famous work seen by the general public. Unfortunately, artists never get the credit they deserve for their work and, for some reason, it seems irrelevant to 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 for coin collecting.
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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 of 499 pieces. In a wooden case with a certificate and book.
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The iconography of the first gold sovereigns was not typical for the time. There was no heraldic design on the former standard gold coin of the United Kingdom, the guinea; it has a neoclassical design. The obverse of the guinea bears the head of the monarch, George III, and has the legend GEORGIUS III D.F. BRITANNIAR. REX F.D. So the idea of the obverse never changed: the standard UK gold coin bears the head of the monarch even today.
The reverse has Saint George on horseback. Saint George does not wear any armor besides that found 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 near death. Saint George’s steed is depicted perfectly as the horse attacks and flees in the same image.
A true work of art.
Different Types of Sovereign
Other kinds of gold sovereign were designed after the type of Pistrucci. But his design is the best. It tells a whole story condensed into one picture, the religious story of Saint George and the Dragon (or at least the end of it). The gold sovereigns are famous all over the world, beloved by collectors and investors. You can collect them by year, mint or design. But I think they fit in all collections of modern coins.
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- Catalog:: S-3801 2016 Spink
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