1988 Gold Sovereign Proof

The 1988 Gold Sovereign Proof

Benedetto Pistrucci’s image of St. George slaying the dragon is depicted on the reverse of the coin.

Queen Elizabeth II’s third portrait can be seen on the obverse, designed by Raphael Maklouf.

The 1988 gold proof sovereign was orignally housed in a Royal Mint acrylic screw top capsule, presented in its Royal Mint red leatherette case, accompanied with an individually numbered certificate of authenticity.

The mintage was 18,862 and out of these 10,000 individually boxed proof sovereigns were issued by the Royal Mint in 1988.

Mintage: 18,862 (may include coins in sets)
Minted at The Royal Mint.
Remember 1988 ?
Monarch is Queen Elizabeth II. Prime Minister is Margaret Thatcher (Conservative). US President is Ronald Reagan. House prices in UK rise by 16.9%. Piper Alpha oil rig disaster. GCSE exams introduced. Olympics are in Seoul, South Korea. Sandy Lyle becomes the first British winner of the US Masters. Pubs in England and Wales can now open all day.
Elizabeth II (1952-Present)
Queen Elizabeth II is the current and longest reigning monarch ever. Born on 21 April 1926 to King George VI and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, she became Queen in 1952 and her Coronation was on 2 June 1953.

Queen Elizabeth II has issued many coins and was monarch during decimalisation.
General Description: Sovereigns
The 1988 Gold Sovereign Proof is an example of the Gold Sovereign and is one of the most ubiquitous of all coins and much sought after by both coin collectors and bullion investors. Sovereigns have been minted since 1817 (in Britain 1817-1917, 1925 and 1957 on). At coins fairs you often hear the dealers refer to these coins as Sovs.

Besides being minted in Britain, Sovereigns have been made in Australia (Melbourne, Sydney, Perth), India (then Bombay, now Mumbai), Canada (Ottowa) and South Africa (Pretoria) although these regional mints have not made sovereigns since 1932. The non-British coins carry a small mintmark ('S','M','P','I','C' or 'SA') just above the date. This 1988 Gold Sovereign Proof was minted at The Royal Mint.

The Obverse is the Monarch's head (Elizabeth II) and the Reverse is most often St George and the Dragon, although other backs have been used and are of interest to collectors. The Reverse often gives the Sovs a new term, like "ShieldBacks".

Specifications for the Gold Sovereign
  • Weight: 7.9881g
  • Diameter: 22.05 mm
  • Thickness: 1.52 mm
  • Purity: 22 carat = 91.67% (11/12ths gold, 1/12th copper. Adding copper makes the coin more scratch and dent resistant)
  • Gold Content: 113 grains = 7.3224 g = 0.2354 troy ounce
  • Face value: £1 = 20 shillings
  • Monarch: Elizabeth II


Up until 1604 there was a coin called the English gold sovereign and in 1816 when there was the "Great Recoinage" the name was revived. At that time standard gold (22 carat) was valued at £46 14s 6d per troy pound; this meant a £1 coin needed to weigh 123.2744783 grains or 7.988030269 g. The weight is still the same today.

As a historical note: to maintain the Gold Standard, in 1816 the value of silver was set at 66 shillings for one troy pound and silver coins were only legal for denominations up to £2.

The first sovereigns carried the head of King George III and the famous George and the Dragon design by Benedetto Pistrucci (29 May 1783 – 16 September 1855), an Italian engraver who became chief medallist at the Royal Mint.

With high value coins such as the 1988 Gold Sovereign Proof, collectors and bullion investors often worry about forgeries but actually gold coins are very difficult to forge due to gold's unique properties of density and colour. Gold is extremely dense and to use another metal and gold-plate it would result in a coin that is under-weight, over-diameter or half as thick, something that would be spotted very easily. More difficult to spot would be a bullion coin melted down and re-cast as a highly collectable date, but an expert can usually tell these too. You should always use reputable dealers.

Which Mint: The Royal Mint
The Royal Mint is the designated place for the UK to mint coins. It dates back well over 1000 years and is a Government-owned company. 

Formed in the reign of Alfred the Great about the year 886, during the period 1279-1812 it was generally referred to as The Tower Mint as it was housed at the Tower of London. The Master of The Royal Mint has included famous figures such as Sir Isaac Newton.

Since 2010 it has operated as Royal Mint Ltd, a company owned by HM Treasury, under an exclusive contract to supply all coinage for the UK although it also produces medals and coins for other countries. It is currently located at Llantrisant, Wales.

There is also an on-line shop at The Royal Mint Shop.
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
The United Kingdom (UK) is the Union of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is often refered to as Great Britain (GBR). It has a long, rich history.

The orignal coinage was Pounds, Shillings and Pence but since decimalisation on 15 February 1971, it is £1 = 100p, that is One Pound = 100 pence. The coinage of the UK is also a long history, the Royal Mint being established as long ago as 886AD when coins were hammered. Today there is perhaps 30 billion coins in circulation, and many (numismatic) collectors coins and sets are issued frequently in gold, silver and other metals.
If you don't see a coin in the list below try the Sovereigns page on eBay UK

List of items on:

UK On eBay UK:
1988 Elizabeth II Proof Gold Half Sovereign. Boxed with COA. Rare. FDC
1988 Elizabeth II Proof Gold Half Sovereign. Boxed with COA. Rare. FDC
£ 295.00
1988 Proof Half Sovereign Gold Coin Royal Mint cased issue
1988 Proof Half Sovereign Gold Coin Royal Mint cased issue
£ 300.00
1988 Proof full gold sovereign
1988 Proof full gold sovereign
£ 720.00
1988 Proof full Gold sovereign
1988 Proof full Gold sovereign
£ 615.00
Royal Mint UK GOLD PROOF HALF SOVEREIGN 1983 to  2022 - Choose your year
Royal Mint UK GOLD PROOF HALF SOVEREIGN 1983 to 2022 - Choose your year
£ 340.00
1988  Proof Full Gold Sovereign
1988 Proof Full Gold Sovereign
£ 725.00
1988 22 Carat Gold Proof Half Sovereign
1988 22 Carat Gold Proof Half Sovereign
£ 340.00
£ 685.00

List of items on: