British Gold Coin Proof Sets
1997 Gold Sovereign Proof Set
When the Royal Mint started regularly to produce gold coins sets in 1980, they set an issue limit of 10,000 sets, and managed to sell every set. Since then the annual mintage figures have generally declined. 1997 saw the lowest mintage figure of all the recent sets, with only 860 sets issued. Millennium year 2000 for example saw the issue limit of 1,250 sets sell out quite quickly. Because less were issued during 1997, we believe it will continue to be one of the most difficult sets to acquire well into the future.
The 1997 gold proof set features the third portrait of the Queen, as used from 1985 to 1997 inclusive on most British coins. The issue quantity was less than a sixth of the 1985 issue. The issue limit placed on the 1997 set was 1,250 and only 860 were issued. There were 5,849 of the 1985 sets issued.
This year, 1997, saw the introduction of a new bi-metallic £2 coin for circulation. Appropriately the new coin is included in the 4 coin gold proof set. The circulation version of the new coin has a gold coloured nickel brass outer disc, with a silvery coloured cupro-nickel inner. The gold version retains the bi-metallic theme by having a centre of yellow gold within an outer disc of red gold.
The Four Coins
The four gold coins we refer to are, of course, the gold sovereign and half sovereign, along with the two pound coin, often called a double sovereign, and a five pound gold coin.
In 1990, the four coin gold proof set packaging was re-designed, and changed to a red leather box, and for the first time, a gold-plated medallion was including, with a crowned "Elizabeth R" above the date. The medallion included in the 1997 sets has an ox on the reverse to mark the Chinese lunar year of the ox.
Coloured Gold Alloys
For those who are interested in technical information, and wonder about the difference between the two different gold alloys used, we will give a brief explanation.
As you will know, pure gold is yellow. When it is alloyed with other metals, the colour of the resulting alloy will be different, and sometimes quite unpredictable from the layman's viewpoint. All the coins in this set are made of 22 carat gold, this means 22 parts out of 24 parts by weight. Expressed in parts per thousand, 22 carat is 916.6 parts per 1,000. The other 2 parts per 24 can be any other metal, but are usually copper, silver, or a mixture of the two. If all the balance is copper, the final alloy will have a very red colour, if all silver, then the resulting colour would be very yellow, almost green. By balancing the proportions finely, a range of colours can be produced between the two extremes.
Five Pounds||36.02||39.94||1.1771||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
Gold Plated Medallion||25 x 22|| || ||1997 - Ox
Notes on Table
Weight = gross weight in grams.
*AGW = Actual intrinsic gold weight in troy ounces.
Prices & Availability
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More information about British gold sets is available on our British Gold Sets Information page.
1997 Three Coin Sovereign Set
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Postage & Packing
UK Registered Post (Special Delivery) £9 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 $60, plus $1 per $1,000
Obverse of 1997 Gold Proof Two Pound Coin
British Gold Sets Information
British 4 Coin Gold Sets For Sale
Reverse of New Bi-Metallic Gold Proof Two Pound Coin
1997 Gold Proof Set in Presentation Box