Biggest Sovereign variant and the double thickness Piedfort join the Royal Mints 2019 range

A perennial fixture on the numismatic calendar, and an absolute icon in the history of coins, the Royal Mint’s Sovereign range carrying Benedetto Pistrucci’s superb St George and the Dragon design sees the addition of its biggest variant today. The standard Sovereign has always been a 7.98 gram 22 kt gold coin, and other issues are usual variants of that.

Biggest of them all is the Five Sovereign which, as you can guess from the name, tips the scales at the same weight as five standard coins. This one is a brilliant uncirculated strike which the Royal Mint claims has a new matt finish, so the selling point here is the size. The mintage has dropped from 2018’s 1,000 pieces, to just 505 this year, and the price has risen from £1930 to £1995. The increase in the cost of gold this year is no doubt the reason for the rise, so that’s only to be expected.

The other offering has the higher-quality proof finish and is a Piedfort coin. This basically means it has the same diameter as the standard issue, but is twice the weight and thickness. The 2018 issue had a mintage of 2,750 and that was reduced from the 3,750 of the year before. In 2019, that number is down again, to just 1,800 and again, the price has risen to £870 from £820. Both coins are available now.


Today, The Royal Mint introduces its Five-Sovereign Piece and Piedfort Sovereign as the newest additions to The 2019 Sovereign Collection. Reborn in 1817, the consistent use of Pistrucci’s design has made the Sovereign accepted and trusted worldwide. Whilst also being an instantly recognisable coin, it has come to be a favourite amongst coin collectors across the globe.

The largest of the coins in the 2019 Sovereign Collection, the Five-Sovereign Piece allows collectors to admire the stunning detail of Benedetto Pistrucci’s acclaimed St George and the dragon design. This year’s Five-Sovereign Piece Brilliant Uncirculated edition also features a Matt finish – a Royal Mint first.

Almost twice the thickness of a standard Sovereign, the Piedfort Sovereign coins have their own fascinating history, tracing back to the twelfth century and including a time, between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, in which they were given by European royalty as ‘prestige pieces’ to members of their courts.

Dr Kevin Clancy, Director of The Royal Mint Museum and Author of ‘A History of The Sovereign: Chief Coin of the World’ said, “Pistrucci’s design has appeared on the Sovereigns of every monarch since Victoria’s reign. Once again the 2019 Five-Sovereign Piece and Piedfort Sovereign features Pistrucci’s St George and the Dragon design – a timeless classic.”

While the Sovereign’s full story is more than five centuries old, it was subject to a lengthy pause after production ceased early in the 17th Century, during the reign of James I. But then, over 200 years ago, as part of a great reform of UK coinage undertaken after the Napoleonic Wars the Sovereign was born again, setting new standards for accuracy and beauty that defined a currency.

During the 19th century the Sovereign was known as ‘the chief coin of the world’, while its role has changed over the years that followed, it maintains a global reputation for accuracy, reliability and quality.

COMPOSITION 0.9167 gold 0.9167 gold
WEIGHT 39.94 grams 15.976 grams
DIMENSIONS 36.02 mm 22.05 mm
FINISH Brilliant Uncirculated Proof
MINTAGE 505 1,800
BOX / COA Yes / Yes Yes / Yes