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Gold Sovereigns

1902 Royal Mint Matte Proof

22 Carat Gold

Although Edward VII acceded to the throne in 1901, he was not crowned until 1902, and the first coins issued for him were dated 1902, all 1901 dated coins continuing to bear Queen Victoria's head. As sovereigns remained in circulation as pound coins until the first world war, most Edward sovereigns are quite worn. Because 1902 was the first date of his reign, some people tended to store a few nice shiny new coins, although few could afford to save sovereigns.
The 1902 Matte Proofs were made using a process developed in the 1890's in Belgium. The coins are pickled or etched in diluted acid after being struck to achieve a dull finely granulated surface. This was replaced later by sandblasting the coins, both finishes proved to be unpopular with collectors. There is a large amount of anecdotal evidence to suggest that the Royal Mint workers unused to the dull finish rubbed these coins on their aprons, so combined with the extra handling there is nearly always light hairline marks on all of these issues.

1902 Royal Mint Matte Proof Gold Sovereign Reverse

1902 Royal Mint Matte Proof Gold Sovereign Obverse

The eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, King Edward VII succeeded the throne upon his mother’s death in 1901 - his reign beginning the lineage of Saxe Coburg Gotha over the British Empire. Despite his risque reputation, Edward threw himself into the role of King with vitality.
Aside from the Boer War of 1899~1902 Edward ruled peacefully and successfully during his short reign, remarkable considering the shifts in European power that occurred in the first decade of the twentieth century. His extensive foreign travels gave him a solid foundation as an ambassador in foreign relations - quite a few of the foreign houses of Europe were his relatives, and this allowed him to actively assist in foreign policy negotiations. Victoria’s fears regarding the “eccentric” personal habits he displayed earlier in life proved wrong: Edward’s forays into foreign policy had direct bearing on the foreign alliances Great Britain created with both France and Russia, and aside from his sexual indiscretions, his manner and style endeared him to the Empire’s populace. Edward maintained an active social life, and his penchant for playboy accouterments set trends among the fashionable.
Only one portrait was used on the sovereigns of Edward VII, from 1902 to 1910 inclusive. The engraving of his hair is in fairly low relief, and tends to very quickly show signs of wear. Contact marks and wear that would be focused on a small surface area on another sovereign is spread over a wide portion of Edward’s portrait

When collectors examine a sovereign with the St George reverse, there are a certain number of points which are examined closely for strike & wear. From top to bottom, they are:
  • The crest of St George’s helmet;
  • St George’s chest, together with the strap & pin fastening his cloak;
  • The bridle as it crosses the horse’s neck;
  • The muscle separation in St George’s upper thigh;
  • The horse’s forequarters & rump;
  • The “bloodline” in the sword;
  • The upper band across St George’s boot;
  • The dragon’s torso below it’s neck.



Composition: 91.67% Gold
8.33% Copper
Gold Content: 0.2354 oz
Edge: Reeded
Weight: 7.9881 grams
Size: 21.5 mm
Reverse: Benedetto Pistrucci
Obverse: George William De Saulles
Chard Gold Sovereigns Andrew Crellin of Sterling & Currency.

The Sovereign
Daniel Fearon & Brian Reeds
Hilden Publications
17 Windmill Drive
Croxley Green, Hertfordshire
United Kingdom

Token Publishing

The Gold Sovereign
Golden Jubilee Edition

Michael A Marsh
25A St Neots Rd
Cambrigeshire CB3 7QH
United Kingdom