The 1957 Queen Elizabeth II sovereign was the first gold sovereign ever produced during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, and in this article, we’ll break down everything there is to know about this coin.
Let’s waste no time and get straight into it.
What Is A Gold Sovereign?
Gold sovereigns are gold coins with a face value of £1 that have been minted in the United Kingdom since 1489, although the design was very different to what you are likely to come across today.
The gold sovereigns that you are likely to come across today were first introduced in 1816 and feature the current monarch on the obverse and a depiction of St. George slaying a dragon on the reverse.
They are widely recognised as the most trusted bullion coin in the world and are an investment vehicle used by people across the globe. In the UK specifically, they are exempt from Capital Gains Tax as well as Value Added Tax, making them particularly desirable.
They are also desirable from a numismatist’s point of view, as they hold significant historical appeal. In the case of the 1957 sovereign, it was the first of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign – which is even more poignant given her recent passing.
Why Was The First Gold Sovereign Of Queen Elizabeth II’s Reign Issued In 1957?
Queen Elizabeth II came to power in 1952, but the first gold sovereign was not issued until 1957. This was mainly due to a small global demand for bullion coins, which was driven in part by the Great Depression as well as World War Two.
In fact, there were no gold sovereigns produced at all between 1932 and 1957 apart from 1953 when a few specimen proof versions were issued for National Collections.
Before decimalisation, there were only gold sovereigns issues between 1957-59 and 1962-68.
How Much Is The 1957 Gold Sovereign Worth?
Most 1957 gold sovereigns are worth between £400 and £500 due to the gold content (7.315g pure gold).
Some graded versions are offered at higher prices for collectors, such as an extremely fine graded version for £845.00 at the Royal Mint.
As you can see, there is a real discrepancy between buying sovereigns for investment or collecting purposes.
Is It Rare?
Gold sovereigns are typically not judged by their rarity as they are an investment vehicle whose production is guided by global demand for bullion coins.
The mintage for the 1957 gold sovereign was 2,027,000, which is the second lowest by mintage of all gold sovereigns issued between 1957 and 1968, but you will find that most sovereigns of this era are worth around the same price.
What Does The 1957 Gold Sovereign Look Like?
The reverse design of the 1957 gold sovereign depicts St. George slaying the dragon, a design which was used from 1816 and designed by Benedetto Pistrucci.
We have featured this design several times here at the Coin Expert on other coins such as the 1951 Festival of Britain crown and the 1887 Queen Victoria crown, and the design can be seen on sovereign coins produced to this day.
The obverse shows the bare head portrait of Queen Elizabeth II which was designed by Mar Gillick.
The Queen can be seen facing right with a tie at the back of her hair, with the inscription ‘ELIZABETH II DEI GRA:BRITT:OMN:REGINA F:D:+‘ around the edge.
A unique characteristic of the 1957 Queen Elizabeth II gold sovereign is that the milled edge contains 168 grains instead of the standard 108 grains used on all other sovereigns.
This makes the coin not only the first gold sovereign issued in Queen Elizabeth II’s reign but also the only sovereign to have this unique milled edge pattern – definitely something to consider if you are interested in collecting coins.
The 1957 gold sovereign is definitely one of the more interest gold sovereigns that have been issued over the years.
It has a lot of historical value, and may also become even more collectable following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. If you’re interesting in collecting coins, this is definitely one to consider adding to your collection.