Royal Mint marks two centuries since the Gold Standard was introduced with a proof version of the 2016 gold bullion coin

Launched in 2016 to mark the 200th anniversary of Britain creating the gold standard, the Royal Mints gold bullion coin range encompassed a quarter-ounce and a one-ounce carrying the same design. Done by Royal Mint regular, Dominique Evans, it was a neat and stylish realisation of what that gold standard stood for, focused around a set of scales, essential to monitor the accuracy necessary for the transfer of a precious metal sold by weight.

The technical style actually works really well, so it’s good to see it finally get a proof release, showing it off with that far crisper and more detailed look afforded it by the higher quality strike. This time it’s to mark the bicentenary of the standard being written into law. As with the bullion coin, their are two weights making up the range, the same one-ounce and quarter-ounce formats. Both come boxed in the usual wooden boxes the mint uses, and they’re good quality items, as well as with a COA.

Also of interest is an attractive set containing a quarter-ounce coin, but this time it’s placed alongside a 1931 Sovereign coin. The significance here is 1931 was the year the gold standard was abandoned. We’re sure opinion is split on whether that was a good thing or not, and we often see discussion on its merits today, but it’s gone, likely for good. A neat historical set that the Royal Mint ocassionally produces and is fairly unique amongst major mints in doing so. All variants are available today.


First written into law in 1821, the gold standard was a concept linked to the mind of Sir Isaac Newton, former Master of the Mint. Sir Isaac Newton issued a report in 1717 that led to the gold guinea being assigned a fixed value. Following the Coinage Act of 1816, Britain’s gold standard was adopted and it was the first system of its type in the world. Several countries with large economies followed the British lead, including Canada, the United States and Germany.

Backed by the newly revived Sovereign, it became a global monetary system that remained until the outbreak of the First World War drove gold coins out of circulation. As Chancellor of the Exchequer, Winston Churchill returned Britain to a gold standard in 1925 but it was abandoned altogether in 1931 as economic pressures mounted.

The anniversary is celebrated on a Proof coin for the first time, following a bullion range that has been released previously by The Royal Mint, with the same reverse design. The reverse design, depicting scales to reflect the balance and precision of the standard, comes from senior designer Dominique Evans. A designer at The Royal Mint for nearly 18 years, Dominique has also created designs for coins celebrating Jane Austen, the Sapphire Coronation of Her Majesty The Queen and the Diversity Build Britain 50p released as both circulating and commemorative, last year.

Dominique comments: “My grandfather was a bank manager who had a large set of scales from the bank, which I have inherited. They naturally became the integral part of the design and I am delighted that they have become part of a coin design of which my grandad would have been so very proud.

“The Gold Standard is such an important piece of financial history, it feels wonderful to have my design used on a Proof version of the coin, especially one with such a limited mintage, it feels like a real collector’s item.”

COMPOSITION 0.9999 gold 0.9999 gold
WEIGHT 31.21 grams 7.80 grams
DIMENSIONS 32.69 mm 22.0 mm
FINISH Proof Proof
MINTAGE 260 910
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes Yes / Yes