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The sovereign is a gold coin of the United Kingdom, with a nominal value of one pound sterling. Prior to 1932 it was a fully circulating coin within Britain's then Gold Standard currency. Named after the English gold sovereign, last minted in 1604, the name was revived with the Great Recoinage of 1816. Sovereigns have been minted in the United Kingdom from 1817 to 1917, in 1925, and from 1957 to the present. In the past Australia, Canada, and South Africa all occasionally minted the coins. In Victorian times it was the practice of the Bank of England to remove worn sovereigns and half sovereigns from circulation and to have them recoined.
First portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II (laureate bust) facing right, wearing a wreath. It was introduced in 1953, one year after the Queen acceded to the throne. It captures the grace and youth of the 26-year-old new Queen. Her hair is restrained by a laureate crown which is tied with ribbons at the back of her head. The Queen's shoulders are bare and the truncation follows the curve of the coin. The engravers initials M.G. are incuse, generally faint, and are located on the raised edge found at the base of the bust.
Depicts St. George on horseback holding short sword, the horse rearing to right over a fallen dragon which has a broken lance in its chest; in exergue, the date and the artist's initials B.P.