KING GEORGE IV, CURRENCY GOLD HALF SOVEREIGNS 1821-1828.
The Royal Mint struck its first gold sovereign in 1489 during the reign of Henry VII. This coin became known as a "sovereign" because the obverse design depicted the King enthroned in regal splendour. It was the first gold coin produced with a value of one pound or twenty shillings, it was the largest coin yet issued in England and also the most beautiful. The half-sovereign was introduced a few years after, during the reign of King Henry VIII (1509-1547), in the year 1544, nearly 300 years before the modern coinage period. The modern sovereign, smaller and featuring on the reverse the classic St. George and the dragon design by Benedetto Pistrucci and the half-sovereign featuring the Royal Arms were introduced in 1817, during the reign of King George III (1760-1820), taking the form in which we know them today.
Gold half-sovereigns continued to be issued by the Royal Mint in London for the reigns of King George IV (1821-1830), King William IV (1831-1837), Queen Victoria (1838-1901), King Edward VII (1902-1910), and King George V (1911-1915).
After 1915 currency half -sovereigns were not issued by the Royal Mint until 1982 when the first bullion half-sovereign issued only for that year.
The year 2000 was of particular interest to half-sovereign enthusiasts, because for the first time since1982 a bullion type half-sovereign was struck and continued to be struck yearly ever since.
KING GEORGE IV
The Reign of King George IV (1820-1830) House of Hanover.
Born: 12 August 1763.
Accession: 29 January 1820.
Married: Caroline of Brunswick 8 April 1795 later separated and banned from attending the Coronation.
Coronation: Thursday, 19 July 1821.
Child: one daughter Charlotte who predeceased her Father 6 November 1817.
Died: 26 June 1830, aged 67.
King George IV (1763-1830) succeeded to the throne upon the death of his father George III on 29 January 1820.
Three types of half-sovereigns were issued during his reign.
The first half-sovereign (Type 1) was issued by the Royal Mint only for the year 1821 and it was a splendid example of both engraving and design by Pistrucci. It carried a magnificent laureate head bust of the King, and its reverse featured the Ensigns Armorial of the United Kingdom garnished and surmounted by a large crown. This coin was quickly withdrawn and possibly melted down. The reason for this was because of its likeness to the current sixpence which was being gilded and passed as a half-sovereign. That explains the high rarity of the coin (R5 M.Marsh).
The half-sovereign (Type 2) was next issued in1823 with the same obverse as in 1821, but with the Ensigns Armorial of the United Kingdom surmounted by a crown, this time shown within a plain square shield on the reverse. This second issue was further struck for the years 1824 and 1825.
The (Type 3) half-sovereign featured the bust of the King bare headed on the obverse. The reverse carried a beautifully garnished shield containing the Ensigns Armorial of the United Kingdom surmounted by the royal crown and the Hanoverian arms within an escutcheon are again placed in the centre of the shield. This lovely reverse was designed and engraved by Jean Baptiste Merlen. Type 3 half-sovereigns were first issued bearing the date 1826 and were also struck for 1827 and 1828.
1821: Mintage 231,288 . Rarity R5 (M.Marsh)
1823: Mintage 224,280 . Rarity R2 (M.Marsh)
1824: Mintage 591,538 . Rarity S (M.Marsh)
1825: Mintage 761,150 . Rarity N (M.Marsh)
1826: Mintage 344,830 . Rarity R (M.Marsh)
1827: Mintage 492,014 . Rarity S (M.Marsh)
1828: Mintage 1,224,754. Rarity N (M.Marsh)
In general half-sovereigns have become a great deal more difficult to find these days in UNC condition, and without doubt those of George IV are very hard for the collector to acquire.
SPECIFICATIONS OF THE HALF-SOVEREIGN
FINENESS: 22 Carat.
MILLESIMAL FINENESS: 0.916
COINS OF ENGLAND & THE UNITED KINGDOM, 52nd Edition 2017, by SPINK.
THE COIN YEAR BOOK 2012, Edited by John W. Mussell.
THE GOLD HALF-SOVEREIGN, 2nd Edition 2004, by MICHAEL A. MARSH.
A HISTORY OF THE SOVEREIGN, by Kevin Clancy. A Royal Mint Museum publication. 2nd Edition 2017.
THE SOVEREIGN, The world's most famous coin, by Daniel Fearon, 2001.
This complete set includes the Type 1 example 1821 in MS64, Type 2 examples 1823 in MS65, 1824 and 1825 in MS64; Type 3 examples 1826 in MS63 ( ex Terner Collection ), 1827 in MS62 and 1828 in MS64 ( ex Law Collection ).Read more...
1/2 SOVEREIGN 1821-1828, Circulation Issue, (GEORGE IV).