The 2002 gold sovereign was specially commissioned to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. Many special events were held throughout the UK and the Commonwealth. And this coin was struck as part of this celebration of Her Majesty’s 50-year reign.
Different designers were used for each side of the sovereign. The obverse side features the traditional portrait style used on the majority of gold sovereigns. The 2002 coin is the fourth such portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and was designed by British sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley. His effigy of Her Majesty has appeared on all UK and Commonwealth coinage since 1998. His initials can be seen below the main image.
But the reverse side of the coin isn’t so traditional. For only the second time in the past 100 years (the first time being in 1989), the design on this side of the sovereign wasn’t St George and the Dragon. Instead, the reverse displays a Shield of the Royal Arms design. The shield is surrounded by a laurel wreath. This imagery was created by a herald painter at the College of Arms, Timothy Noad.
A shield design on the reverse of a sovereign had last been used during Queen Victoria’s reign. It was utilised from 1837 to 1887 and then changed in that year, which was also Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee year. And this was the last time that a British monarch had celebrated such a prestigious event. So it could be that the Royal Mint wanted to link the Golden Jubilee celebrations of both monarchs by paying homage to Queen Victoria’s design in the imagery chosen for our present queen on the 2002 sovereign.
75,264 gold sovereigns were minted in 2002. They were made of 22-carat gold and produced to a proof standard. They were struck using specially selected blanks and highly polished dies. So these coins are of a very high standard. And it would seem, very popular amongst coin collectors.
In the same year, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother died. Millions of people lined the streets as her funeral took place at Westminster Abbey. Later in the year, the Golden Jubilee celebrations began. Therefore, it’s possible that the unique design of the 2002 coin, along with the events that took place during this year, have made this particular sovereign so sought after.
Today, you’d probably expect to pay somewhere between £500 and £1,000 for these coins. That’s if you can find one for sale!
Take a look at our page here for more details on this sovereign.