Mark the 100 th anniversary of the close of a golden era with this stunning re-creation of Canada’s last circulating Gold Sovereign coin. After opening in 1908 as the Ottawa Branch of the Royal Mint (of England), Canada’s mint maintained close ties to England, including striking gold coins that were legal tender both in Canada and throughout the British Empire. Canada’s gold sovereigns maintain the classic image of St. George slaying the dragon, with the addition of a “C” (Canada) mint mark above the date. While the original coins were struck in 22 karat gold, this commemorative collector issue is struck in one quarter ounce of .9999 fine gold. The coin is double dated 1919-2019 and has a limited mintage of just 1,000 coins. HST/GST Exempt.
The reverse features Benedetto Pistrucci’s neoclassical-style design for the British gold Sovereign, as it appeared on coins struck by the Ottawa Branch of the Royal Mint from 1908-1919 as well as from the Royal Mint in England and in various other parts of the British Empire. Saint George is shown on horseback, his left hand holding the reins while his right hand holds a sword. A dragon lies wounded at the horse’s feet. The obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.
The gold sovereign was key to the creation of a Canadian mint. The Klondike gold rush in 1896 led to renewed calls for the creation of a Dominion mint that could profitably convert Canadian-mined metals into coins. Fears of a low demand for Canadian coins and an idle mint prompted the suggestion that British sovereigns—a gold coin that was a widely accepted form of payment—could also be produced domestically. To do so, Canada’s mint would have to be established as a branch of the Royal Mint. Thus, on January 2, 1908, the Ottawa branch of the Royal Mint officially opened.
It led to the addition of a refinery that, today, produces some of the world’s purest gold coins. Original plans for our Ottawa facility didn’t include a refinery, since it was assumed that bullion would be purchased from private refiners. But no domestic refinery was capable of refining gold to exacting coinage standards; instead, this new addition was completed in 1911.
The sovereign was primarily used for exporting funds and redeeming banknotes. Canada produced a small number of sovereigns between 1908 and 1919, with none issued in 1912 and 1915 and peak production in 1911 (256,946).