For many centuries, the British gold sovereign has been the standard gold currency of the British Empire. First issued in 1489, the sovereign was replaced by other gold coins in the 17th and 18th centuries, but was restored in 1817. The sovereigns produced post-1817 were almost half the weight and diameter of the originals.
The obverse of the sovereign always features the reigning monarch, and the reverse depicts St. George, the English national saint and legendary dragon slayer. With a face value of 1 pound sterling, the sovereign was first minted for Henry VII, who asked the Royal Mint to produce a 'new money of gold'. It was the largest and most prestigious coin of its time. The classic denominations were Sovereign (1 Pound Sterling) and 1/2 Sovereign (1/2 Pound Sterling).
Today, experts agree that the gold sovereign is not only one of the most beautiful gold coins in Europe, but also the most significant British coin in history. Like no other gold coin, thegold sovereign represents luxury, history, and the strength of the British Empire, attributes that make the gold sovereign one of the most sought-after coins amongst collectors.
In celebration the 200th anniversary of the first issue of the modern sovereign, the government of the Commonwealth member Niue Islands has issued strictly limited anniversary edition gold coins dedicated to the'British Empire'. This prestigious seti ncludes eight official gold dollars in finest solid gold (999/1000), featuring some of the most influential monarchs of the British Empire.
Among themonarchs being commemorated is Queen Victoria, whose 200th birthday will be celebrated in 2019. Victoria's reign from 1837 to 1901 was a time when Britain saw extraordinary prosperity and the heydaysof the British Empire. Therefore the 'Victorian' era was also called the 'Golden Era' of the British Empire. Queen Victoria's nine children and 26 of her grandchildren married into royal and noble families all over the continent and made Queen Victoria the "Grandmother of Europe". Today, the few Victoria Sovereigns still available in good condition are sought-after numismatic treasures.
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