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1817 Great Britain George III Gold Sovereign XF

Code: GB-3


George III (1760-1820). As per Spink-3785. Die axis ↑↓. XF (English aVF). This is the first year of issue of the modern Gold Sovereign after the great recoinage act of 1816 with the famous St.George slaying the dragon reverse design of Benedetto Pistrucci.


The recoinage act of 1816 From wikipedia:


The French Revolutionary Wars (1792-1802) and the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) led to financial instability in Britain. This was due to direct military and economic warfare against France as well as Britain's financing of a series of coalitions opposed to the French Revolutionary and Napoleonicregimes. In exchange for large cash subsidies from Britain, nations such as Austria, Prussia and Russia, with armies larger than Britain's, were paid to fight against France. The economic conflicts of that era (such as Napoleon's Continental System and Britain's retaliatory measures against it) especially disrupted trade and the availability of markets in Europe for the products of Britain's growing mercantile and colonial empires. A shortage of silver and copper led to a shortage of coins. Paper money became legal in 1797[2] and local tokens were produced by companies and banks all over the country. Despite an increase in trade, the national debt had increased by 100% by the start of the 19th century. A series of bad harvests pushed up food prices and this culminated in riots in 1801–2. 

Corn prices halved at the end of the wars, when trade with Europe resumed. The Corn Laws of 1815 were intended to protect the price of domestic grain, but this only served to keep prices high and depressed the domestic market for manufactured goods, because people had to use all their money to buy food.[3] Likewise, European countries which relied on exporting corn to Britain in order to buy British manufactured goods were no longer able to do so.

The government needed to find a way to stabilise the currency, and the Great Recoinage was the first step in this process. The main aims were the reintroduction of a silver coinage and a change in the gold coinage from the guinea valued at 21 shillings to the slightly lighter sovereign worth 20 shillings.[4] The value of the shilling remained unchanged at twelve pence.[5]

This massive recoinage programme by the Royal Mint created standard gold sovereigns and circulating crowns and half-crowns containing the now famous image of St. George & the Dragonby the Italian engraver Benedetto Pistrucci[6] and eventually copper farthings in 1821. Pistrucci's initial portrait of the King has become known to collectors as the "bull-head George".



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