The first sovereign to mark a Royal Jubilee
In 2002 Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Golden Jubilee – a royal event that had not taken place for over a century – and a new design was created for the gold coins issued in that year – The Queen Elizabeth II Gold Sovereign Proof of 2002 .
The worldwide reputation of the gold sovereign means it is rare for St George and the dragon to be displaced from the reverse side. However, a Golden Jubilee is an event of such magnitude that it warranted a celebratory design – which was struck only in the year of the jubilee.
In a wonderful link with history, the 2002 Golden Jubilee gold coins used a design that had not been seen on British gold sovereign coins since the reign of the previous monarch to celebrate a Golden Jubilee, Queen Victoria. The design was the Shield of the Royal Arms.
The shield design was first used on gold sovereigns in 1825 under King George IV, and was used again on coins of King William IV and then on the coins of Queen Victoria until 1887, after which all sovereigns featured St George and the dragon.
That the shield design was last seen on the gold of Queen Victoria, the most recent monarch also to celebrate a Golden Jubilee, is a wonderful historical link and one that increases collector interest in the 2002 gold sovereign. This design was only ever struck in the year 2002 onto the gold half sovereign, sovereign, double sovereign and quintuple sovereign.
The sovereign was minted in both Uncirculated quality as a bullion coin and also in Proof quality -the highest quality possible. There were 75,264 coins minted in Uncirculated quality and 19,447 in Proof quality.
This exceptional design makes each of these coins one-year types which are sought-after by all sovereign collectors around the world.