2009 British Gold 4 / 5 Coin Proof Sets
As we expected there is an important change to the 4 coin gold set this year - it contains 5 coins!
With the addition of the new quarter sovereign.
Return of the Dragon
In 2009, St. George and the dragon returned to the 5 coin gold sovereign sets on all four coins, after the special one-off St. George reverse design in 2005.
As in some previous years the 3 coin and 4/ 5 coin sovereign collections contain all coins of the same design, however in a number of years, in some years the two pound coin included with the sets has been the commemorative version instead. For 2009, all five coins will the St. George and Dragon version.The issue limit is fixed at 1,750 sets.
St. George and Dragon - Recut Reverse Dies - More Changes
The traditional St George & Dragon design has been used on sovereigns, with a few breaks, since 1817.
The reverse dies for sovereigns, half sovereigns, double sovereigns and quintuple sovereigns were remastered and recut in 2007. See our 2007 sovereigns page of our Gold Sovereigns website for more information.
For 2009, we are told that the reverse dies will revert to dies produced from masters in the Royal Mint Museum, and possibly worked on by Benedetto Pistrucci himself.
The New Old Thing
It's not often that something so new is so old. We believe the reversion to original, or near original masters should provide better definition, and therefore more attractive coins.
According to the Royal Mint:
The 2009 Gold Proof Sovereigns
'I have thought it desirable to employ Mr Pistrucci, an artist of the greatest celebrity...'
So wrote William Wellesley Pole in a letter to the Treasury in 1816. The Master of the Mint was overseeing a major reform of the coinage and wanted British coins not only to be perfectly produced but also to be works of art in their own right. Benedetto Pistrucci was to prove a wise choice. He engraved a series of remarkable portraits of George III and, for the new gold sovereign created a design of such classic beauty that it has endured to this day.
Now, for the sovereign family of 2009, Royal Mint Engravers have used original tools most of which were almost certainly worked on by Pistrucci himself.
For the original sovereign of 1817 St George is shown holding a shattered lance in his right hand, another portion of which lay on the ground below. Pistrucci constantly strove for perfection in his work, however, and made an important change to his masterpiece for the silver crown of 1818 when he replaced the broken lance with a short sword. Although subsequent sovereigns of George III remained unchanged, it was this amended version that would appear on the first sovereigns of George IV issued in the early 1820s. Other changes are evident on these sovereigns, too, for the surrounding garter belt had been removed and the Saint's helmet stripped of its streamer; the streamer was restored on the sovereign in 1887, Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee year.
The portrait of the Queen too has been influenced by the first modern sovereigns: Ian Rank- Broadley has confessed a great admiration for Pistrucci and 'being inspired particularly by his portrait of George III, I wished to revive elements of his work in this portrait'.
Quintuple Sovereign - Five Pounds
The reverse of the £5 coin reflects the original pattern piece of 1820 which, modelled on the 1818 crown, carried the artist's name in full.
Double Sovereign - Two Pounds
The double sovereign is also based on coins of 1820 but bears only the initials of Pistrucci.
The sovereign too features Pistrucci's initials but also, reflecting the early sovereigns of George IV, is the only one of the family to feature the plumed helmet minus its streamer.
The half-sovereign meanwhile, differs from all the others in that it carries no initials at all.
Now in 2009, a quarter-sovereign has been made available to collectors for the very first time. Since it takes its place in the sovereign family, Benedetto Pistrucci's St George and the dragon design features on the reverse and differs from both the sovereign and half-sovereign in that the Saint's helmet retains its streamer and Pistrucci's initials have also been included. Pistrucci's St George and the dragon has never featured on a coin this size, but in keeping with the 2009 collection, the Royal Mint Engraving Team has taken meticulous care to ensure that every detail of Pistrucci's original masterpiece has been faithfully reproduced.
The collection of 2009 therefore consists of companion coins that each bear Pistrucci's dynamic masterpiece in all its original glory yet show fascinating idiosyncrasies that make them entirely individual. It also, for the first time, includes a quarter-sovereign.
In the hands of different engravers during its long history, Pistrucci's classic has been adjusted in minor ways many times more - the streamer from St George's helmet has come and gone while other elements of the design have been revised. Happily, though, the original coinage tools have been preserved.
They were entrusted to the Royal Mint Engraving Team who, for the £5, the double-sovereign and the sovereigns of 2009, manufactured the coinage dies directly from Pistrucci's originals. For the half-sovereign, tools used to produce the coins of 1893 were needed since not until that year did Pistrucci's St George and the dragon at last appear on its reverse. This is the first time that these tools have been used directly in the modern production process.
Five Pounds||36.02||39.94||1.1771||St George & Dragon
Two Pounds||28.40||15.98||0.4708||St George & Dragon
Sovereign (Pound)||22.05||7.99||0.2354||St George & Dragon
Half Sovereign (Fifty Pence)||19.30||3.99||0.1177||St George & Dragon
Quarter Sovereign||13.50||1.997||0.0588||St George & Dragon
Notes on Table
Weight = gross weight in grams.
*AGW = Actual intrinsic gold weight in troy ounces.
Prices & Availability
2009 Half Sovereigns - Prices & Availability
2009 Sovereigns - Prices & Availability
2009 Half Sovereigns - Photographs of Actual Coins
Highlighting the design differences
2009 Sovereigns - Photographs of Actual Coins
Highlighting the design differences
2009 Gold Sovereign 3 Coin Sets
From two pounds to half sovereign
2009 Quarter Sovereigns
More information about British gold sets is available on our British Gold Sets Information page.
You may wish to use our order form.
Postage & Packing
UK Registered Post (Special Delivery) £8 per order, plus £1 per £1,000
EU Insured Post £10 per order, plus £1 per £1,000
USA Airmail $10,
Insured Shipping $20, plus $1 per $1,000
Canada Airmail $15,
Insured Shipping via Fedex $40, plus $1 per $1,000
Obverse of all Five 2009 Gold Proofs
British Gold Sets Information
British 4 Coin Gold Sets For Sale
2007 Gold 4 Coin Set
2009 Gold 3 Coin Set
Reverse of 2009 Proof Sovereign
Reverse of 2009 Proof Half Sovereign
2009 Gold Sovereign 5 Coin Proof Set in Case
Reverse of 2009 Gold Proof Five Pounds
Reverse of 2009 Gold Proof Double Sovereign
Reverse of 2009 Gold Proof Quarter Sovereign