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Canada Gold Sovereign of George V

By Chris Chatigny, Cataloger

Author: Chris Chatigny / Thursday, October 17, 2013 / Categories: World Coin of the Week
Just a few weeks remain before the Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio auction at the Whitman Coins & Collectibles Baltimore Expo begins on November 7th. The inaugural session provides the world coin highlight for this week, from Canada, our neighbor to the north. We are proud to present a brilliant 1913 gold sovereign of George V graded by PCGS at a population topping Mint State 64. Though it is one of 21 graded by PCGS at this level, neither NGC nor PCGS has graded a coin of this type and date higher. This stunning piece would make an excellent display piece for any serious numismatic collection of gold or Canadian coinage.

The obverse bears the likeness of the British monarch, King George V. To this day the British monarch remains the Head of State in Canada although not the Head of Government which in Canada’s case is the Prime Minister (in the United States of America the President is Head of Government and Head of State). George V’s reign was marked by the First World War, the greatest effective extent of the British Empire, and the beginnings of the modern-day Commonwealth of Nations. George’s reign is also notable as he purged the English royal family of their old German dynastic name and titles as a result of anti-German sentiment during the First World War. The new family name for the English royal family became the House of Windsor, and there were new British surnames and titles such as the 1st Marquis of Cambridge.

The regal bust of King George V, as designed by Sir Bertram Mackennal, appears facing left following the tradition that each monarch faces the opposite direction from his or her predecessor. The designer’s initials appear on the truncation (B.M.). The inscription that appears around the portrait states: “GEORGIVS V D.G. BRITT: OMN: REX F.D. IND: IMP:” which is expanded to the Latin: “GEORGIUS V DEI GRATIA BRITANNIARUM OMNIUM REX FIDEI DEFENSOR INDIA IMPERATOR”. This royal title translates to George the Fifth, by the Grace of God, King of all the Britains, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India. This impressive title is only matched by the remarkable reverse design.

The reverse design is dominated by the extraordinary engraving of Saint George slaying the Dragon by Benedetto Pistrucci. Saint George (the patron saint of England) is depicted astride his horse, which is rearing up in fear of the dragon. Saint George is depicted similar to a Roman soldier, as evidenced by his crested helmet and short sword. The fearsome dragon cowers at the onslaught of Saint George, grievously wounded by George’s spear (the tip of the spear appears in the dragon’s side and the shaft appears broken on the ground). Saint George appears advancing on the dragon to vanquish him with his sword Ascalon. The date (1913) and the engraver’s initials appear below the design.

Pre-bidding has just begun for this stellar coin, so be sure to head over to its Auction Lot listing and place your bids! A sovereign of this quality will surely bring prestige to its new owner’s numismatic collection. Preview this impressive coin along with the rest of our auction this October at the Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio office located in Irvine, California. For details please refer to the Auction Schedule/Details link under Current Auctions at www.StacksBowers.com. To schedule an appointment, please call 800.566.2580. While our Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio November Baltimore sale is closed for further consignments, we are currently taking consignments of world and ancient coins for our January New York International and April 2014 Hong Kong sales. If you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our consignment directors.