In 1970, the last ever pre-decimal coins were struck. Pre-Decimal coinage is however very much still heard and seen today, despite there being many younger generations who have only ever known ‘Decimal’ currency of pounds and pence, missing out on centuries of history and tradition.
Decimalisation, or Decimal Day as it is most known, occurred in 1971 after the pre-decimal system was deemed too complicated with pounds, shillings and pence. Initially, the plan was to make the new decimal currency into cents and dollars (known more in the USA), but this was reconsidered, and pounds and pence were the chosen coinage.
This year marks fifty years since Britain’s last pre-decimal coins, and to convey the importance of this anniversary, a new gold sovereign range has been minted; the 2020 Pre-Decimal 50th Anniversary Gold Sovereign range. This new range not only pays tribute to pre-decimal history, but also sees a world-first sovereign denomination struck; the One-Eighth Gold Sovereign.
Gold One-Eighth Sovereign
The new one-eighth sovereign features a design inspired by the last pre-decimal English Shilling, the three lions, encased within a shield with an anniversary ribbon either side containing the dates 1970 and 2020. The one-eighth sovereign is limited to only 3,999, with a design that has never been minted on a gold sovereign coin before.
This in turn makes it incredibly sought after and interesting to collectors; as a way of owning something to represent Britain’s national symbols and pre-decimal currency, but in proof quality 22-carat gold. This new denomination is also a reflection of the incredible rise in the value of gold over the past six months, which has made the entry-level quarter sovereign denomination more expensive, and less accessible to new buyers. Thus, introducing the one-eighth sovereign.
A Design History
All designs in this 50th anniversary pre-decimal range bring back to life the motifs and designs that once appeared on Britain’s everyday coinage. This includes designs such as the crowned portcullis gate to represent the Parliament at Westminster, the Scottish lion rampant, interlinked rose, thistle, shamrock and leek, and Britannia seated with shield and trident.
Many limitations in the range also have a historical representation, including 50 years since the last pre-decimal coins were struck, and the number of pennies in the pound, 240. The range has been authorised by Tristan Da Cunha and approved by both the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Buckingham Palace.
You can purchase the 2020 Pre-Decimal 50th Anniversary Gold One-Eighth Sovereign HERE for the introductory price of $69.