Only the Pretoria Mint issued sovereigns in 1932, the Melbourne and Perth Mints having stopped the previous year. This was not only the last gold sovereign issued for George V, it was the last sovereign made by a branch of the Royal Mint outside of Britain and the last sovereign to be issued for a quarter of a century.
1932 Pretoria South Africa Gold Sovereign.
The King George V “Small Head” obverse has 2 rows of beading around the rim and was seen rather late in the life of the sovereign. It was issued only 1929 to 1931, the last 3 years which Australia was on the gold standard. It was introduced in an attempt to improve the level of detail seen both in the obverse & reverse designs and prevent ‘ghosting ‘ of the reverse design. One of the technical considerations for an artist designing a coin is that when the coin is struck, the metal should flow evenly throughout both designs. If the design is higher on one side than the other, then not all of the opposing design will be clear. This was thought to be the case with the George V Large Head portrait, hence the change.
There are slight alterations to the St George reverse with changes to the folds in the cape, his sword and the broken lance on the ground.
Due to the smaller portrait, there is a larger portion of the fields exposed on the Small Head than on the Large Head. This coin is more prone to having bag marks in the fields as a result. All of the same high points as on the Large Head portrait should be examined.
- The peaks of the eyebrow and upper cheek;
- The fine detail in his moustache;
- The broad area of hair above the ear & towards the fringe;
- The neck muscle between his ear and the base of his neck.
- Weakness will show in a lack of definition of the hair including beard and moustache;
- The top of the ear which would show a lack of sharpness on a weak strike;
- As always, the rims and fields;
King George V saw his role as monarch as being to embody those qualities his far-flung subjects saw as their greatest strengths – diligence, dignity & duty. King George V was the only monarch whose effigy appeared on sovereigns from all seven mints. George reigned during the height of the Royal Mint’s reach, but the tumultuous events of World War I, the collapse of the international monetary system and the demise of the gold standard meant that he would be the last King to grace the sovereign.