The British Sovereign gold coin has a history ranging back to the 15th century. The bullion grade Souvereign coins were issued irregularly throughout the 20th century, and continuously since 2000. Royal Mint in Llantrisant, Wales is responsible for minting. Since 1817 the weight is constantly 0.2354 troy ounce; with a fineness of .9167, 22 karat. The coin is supplemented by a half sovereign. In 2009 the Royal mint released quarter sovereigns.
The gold sovereign was first issued in 1489 under King Henry VII as an official piece of bullion, without a mark of its value. The last minting was in 1604. The new gold sovereign was minted from 1817 in the United Kingdom (Great Recoinage Act). Australia, Canada, South Africa and India also occasionally minted sovereign. Gold Sovereigns have been minted in several qualities. Bullion grade sovereigns were minted in 1887 – 1932, 1949 – 1952 (dated 1925), 1957 – 1959, 1962 – 1968, 1974, 1976, 1978 – 1982, 2000- present.
The edge of the coin is reeded. The current reverse side of the coin depicts Saint George killing a dragon and the year of minting. The designer and sculptor is Benedetto Pistrucci. For 2007 and 2008 the Royal Mint changed the design of Saint George to closely match it with the 1818 version. In 2008 and 2009 further changes took place. The obverse depicts an emblem of Queen Elisabeth II.