1989 Gold Proof Half-Sovereign – 500th Anniversary of the First Gold Sovereign


The 1989 Gold Sovereign.
Mintage: 23,471 (may include coins issued as part of a set). Minted at The Royal Mint.

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1989 Gold Proof Half-Sovereign – 500th Anniversary of the First Gold Sovereign

The 1989 Gold Proof Half-Sovereign was issued to celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the First Gold Sovereign.  It is based on a design similar to that of the first gold sovereign issued in 1489. For the obverse impression, a representation Of Ourself as at Our Coronation, seated in King Edward’s Chair, having received the Sceptre with the Cross and the Rod with the Dove, all within the circumscription ‘ELIZABETH.II.DEI.GRA.REG.FID.DEF’ can be seen.

The reverse depicts a Shield of Our Royal Arms ensigned by an open Royal Crown, the whole superimposed upon a double Rose (Known as the ‘Tudor Rose’), and with the circumscription ‘ANNIVERSARY OF THE GOLD SOVEREIGN 1489 – 1989’.

Both the obverse and reverse designs were created by Bernard Sindall.

The 1989 Gold Half-Sovereign Proof is an example of the Gold Half-Sovereign and is a gold coin, being as it suggests, half the value and half of the gold weight of a gold sovereign. Today, the half-sovereign is a commemorative coin, not issued every year and often only collected as part of a set.

The Half-Sovereign was introduced a long time ago, in 1544 during the reign of Henry VII. However it was discontinued in 1604 (along with full sovereigns) and no more was minted until 1817. Production ended again in 1926 (1933 in Australia) and except for a few special issues during the Coronation years, it was 1980 when we saw half-sovereigns again.

As the value is half of one sovereign, that give the half-sovereign a face value of half a pound or ten shillings – 50p in post-decimal money.

The mintage for the 1989 Gold Half-Sovereign Proof was 25,000, although only 10,000 were released in this special presentation box complete with Certificate of Authenticity (COA) from the Royal Mint.

Specifications for Gold Half-Sovereign Proof

  • Weight: 3.99 g
  • Diameter: 19.30 mm
  • Thickness: 0.99 mm
  • Purity: 22 carat = 91.67% (11/12ths gold, 1/12th copper. Adding copper makes the coin more scratch and dent resistant)
  • Gold Content: 3.6575 g = 0.1176 troy ounce
  • Face value: £0.50 = 10 shillings (decimal: 50 pence)
  • Monarch: Elizabeth II
  • These specifications apply to half-sovereigns from 1817.