2007 Gold Sovereigns
Proof and uncirculated available now for immediate delivery.
St. George and Dragon - Recut Reverse Dies
The traditional St George & Dragon design has been used on sovereigns, with a few breaks, since 1817.
During this long period, there have been a considerable number of minor changes to the dies used for the reverse (tail side). This year, the reverse design appears to have been completely re-engraved, although there was no advance announcement of this from the Royal Mint.
The first thing we noticed about the 2007 sovereigns was that they were a real pig to photograph.
We try wherever possible to use our own photographs, although sometimes we use images supplied by the various mints, at least on a pre-issue basis, replacing them with our own images as soon as possible after we receive our first deliveries.
Despite our considerable experience in photographing coins, the results can be quite variable. Some coins photograph beautifully, others are really difficult, and require time, patience, and experimentation before we can be happy with the results. The 2007 sovereigns proved to be in the latter category,
It took us most of one day to get reasonably acceptable images, and we had to do quite a lot of post-production work on them. It was only once we had the first new images on our websites that we felt we could spare the time to start comparing them, which is when it started to dawn on us that the difference are not all explicable by poor production quality, but that the dies themselves, and also the masters from which they are made, which have been changed.
19th January 2007 - Delivery of Proof Sovereigns Explains Reverse St George and the Dragon Difference!!
Royal Mint Silence
Despite our continued efforts to get official confirmation from the Mint as to why the reverse design of the 2007 sovereign differs so much to the usual reverse design, we have been unable to achieve this; and this includes talking to people who deal with press releases from the Royal Mint!
Certificate Reveals All
On inspecting the
certificates, the majority of the pages actually talk about the re-cut dies and how
and why they have been used. We can only shake our heads again in bemusement at the fact that between the 4th of January when we received the Uncirculated Sovereigns and today that the numerous people we have spoken to or attempted to speak to at the Mint could not simply confirm this for us!
From St George's Horse's Mouth
The first page of the certificate talks about the neo-classical or Regency style and
how Pistrucci was a 'leading exponent' in this when he was designing at the Royal Mint! Without explanation the following page illustrates and we quote, the 'Re-mastered die for the reverse of the 2007 sovereign showing the enhanced detail.'
What is Clear as Day
It seems blindingly obvious that the 2007 sovereign is centred around the re-cut die, and had this been published when the Uncirculated version were released then it would have provoked collectors into wanting to buy what could possibly be a one off change in design. As with the 1989, 2002, and 2005 sovereigns, all of which sell for more than normal years based on their one of designs, the Royal Mint could have capitalised upon this months before by making this announcement. As per usual with the way the Royal Mint can sometimes operate, their failure to announce this only bemuses us!
Chief Engraver Finally Speaks!
Following a biography of Pistrucci, the origin of the 1817 sovereign is then
discussed. The final page then explains in detail how they are 'Recapturing Pistrucci's Original Masterpiece.'
What follows is a quote from the Chief Engraver at the Royal Mint, Matthew
'Working in plaster, or on the computer, cannot wholly capture the style of a hand engraved piece. In order to match the look and feel of the original sovereign,
therefore, the final work had to be undertaken using the traditional methods'
The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But The Truth
The certificate then explains what we have speculated on our websites for the past three weeks. For informational purposes, this is the Mint's full explanation of the reverse change for 2007. Reading our original assessment of the new sovereign, our suspicions are more or less completely confirmed!
'For the 2007 Sovereign the Royal Mint is using the latest technology, coupled with traditional engraving skills, to recapture the fineness of Pistrucci's early St. George and the dragon from the period of the Neo-Classical revival during the 19th century.
An original hand-engraved design, modified by Pistrucci himself for the Crown Piece of 1818, was scanned into the computer and a large- scale copy was cut in plaster. Elements of the detail were then worked in by hand to ensure that, as far as possible, a faithful rendering of the design was achieved.
The tooling was produced to the required dimensions of the Sovereign and at this size the engravers again completed the finishing touches by hand.
Through this process the intricate details and contours of the composition have been restored so that the sovereign now stands as a sculptured from in a way that Pistrucci himself would have advised.
The 2007 Sovereigns are indeed a tribute to the great masterpiece. Their owners will be taken back almost two centuries to see Pistrucci's St. George and the dragon sovereigns in all their neo-Classical glory.'
As far as the obverse is concerned, there appears to be no re-engraving, although there is a considerable loss of definition compared with a 2000 sovereign which we used for comparison. The substantial re-engraving appears to to confined to the reverse side.
Both sides show many signs of hurried, or sub-standard production, with scuffs, radiating striations possibly caused through under-annealing of the blank planchets before striking. Unfortunately Yann, our resident photographer has already cleaned these off our image, to rectify this, we will shortly be creating a separate "Spot the Difference" page.
Almost all parts of the reverse design are different, leading us to conclude that the entire reverse design has been re-engraved. Because of this, it will be almost impossible for us to create a complete catalogue of differences, but we attempt to list the most obvious ones here:-
- Lower relief, noticeable or apparent in the centre.
- Longer, re-engraved tail.
- Longer trailing helmet plumes.
- More distinct, possibly cruder, helmet crest.
- Completely different folds in cloak.
- Smaller right hand, with more defined fingers, gap between sword hilt.
- Different mane to horse.
- Bigger gap between St George and the horse's neck.
- Thinner gap between horse's neck and reins.
- Different end to broken lance (to left of ground).
- Completely different ground.
- Smaller BP initials, rather blurred and indistinct. On our photo, they appear to merge to look like a single letter D.
- Dragon's wings differ.
- Dragon's nose, mouth, crest, and claws altered.
- George's garter is redefined.
- Horse's musclature has been substantially changed, as has George's.
- The border has been changed, and now looks more like a railway line, as opposed to convex toothed beads. (The obverse border does not match).
- The exergue appears to be taller, as do the date numerals.
- There is a smaller gap between the border and the main parts of the design.
We have also created a page comparing the obverses with earlier years.
For 2007, the issue limit is a maximum of 75,000 uncirculated, the same as for recent years. The issue limit for the proof version will be 12,500.
We also have leatherette cases available for the Uncirculated version, priced £2 each if ordered with coins.
Postage & Packing
Per Delivery - Any Quantity
At Buyer's Risk £3, or...
Fully Insured £8
Airmail to USA $10
Insured to USA $20
We despatch most of our orders within 24 hours, although we do reserve the right to clear cheques before despatch. If your order is urgent for a gift, please tell us on the order form and we will do our best to help.
The fine gold content of a sovereign is 0.2354 troy ounces.
We also offer 2007 Australian Gold Nuggets. Please see our other website:- www.taxfreegold.co.uk