King Edward VII Gold Sovereigns, 1902-1910.

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The Royal Proclamation authorizing Edward’s coinage was not made until 10 December 1901 meaning that the new coinage was not introduced until 1902. All King Edward’s sovereigns carry St George and the date on the reverse, with the mintmark (if applicable) on the bottom of the exergue line above the date.

Although Edward VII acceded to the throne in 1901, he was not crowned until 1902, and the first coins issued for him were dated 1902, all 1901 dated coins continuing to bear Queen Victoria’s head. As sovereigns remained in circulation as pound coins until the first world war, most Edward sovereigns are quite worn. Because 1902 was the first date of his reign, some people tended to store a few nice shiny new coins, although few could afford to save sovereigns.

The Edward VII sovereign: Scarce and beautiful.

British gold sovereigns, or “Kings,” are perhaps the most widely recognized gold coins in the world. In Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) condition they are ideal for coin collectors and history buffs. They offer all the benefits of gold bullion plus extra benefits like limited supply, collector demand, financial privacy, and extra premium potential because of scarcity.

Minted from 1902 to 1910, the Edward VII design is scarcer than the subsequent George V sovereigns. Only one portrait was used on the sovereigns of Edward VII, from 1902 to 1910 inclusive. The engraving of his hair is in fairly low relief, and tends to very quickly show signs of wear. Contact marks and wear that would be focused on a small surface area on another sovereign is spread over a wide portion of Edward’s portrait. The obverse features a portrait of Edward VII, who ruled from 1901 to 1910; the reverse depicts the mythical slaying of the dragon by St. George. The coins themselves are a beautiful yellow-gold color, rather than the orange-gold of the later George V designs. The strikes are normally very good, with sharp relief in all devices.

Sized for trade, British gold sovereigns were produced at seven different mints during the fabled era when “the sun never set on the British Empire.” From Britain to India, Canada to South Africa and Australia, these timeless gold pieces were indeed the most trusted coins in the world because of their pure gold content and secure backing by the British crown. In fact, they were included in the survival kits of American pilots during both World War II and Desert Storm.

The King Edward VII series of gold sovereigns is easily the most affordable set in the Australian series to complete in Uncirculated quality, while collectors keen to take on a challenge would surely relish the opportunity to work towards a set-in choice grade. The journey to completing such a collection would unearth a wealth of information that has the potential to completely alter the way in which this series is perceived by the Australian coin collecting market.

  • Key Date:1902 Perth S
  • Scarce Dates:1903 Sydney, 1903 Melbourne, 1905 Sydney, 1905 Melbourne
Gold Sovereign 1902 Proof15,123Extremely RareExtremely Rare00
Gold Sovereign 19024,737,7962,813,0004,267,1574,254,8610
Gold Sovereign 19038,888,6272,806,0003,521,7804,678,5690
Gold Sovereign 190410,041,3692,986,0003,743,8974,596,2050
Gold Sovereign 19055,910,4032,778,0003,633,8384,854,6980
Gold Sovereign 190610,466,9812,792,0003,657,8534,803,2300
Gold Sovereign 190718,458,6632,539,0003,332,6915,028,8070
Gold Sovereign 1908 Proof0633 (1)
Gold Sovereign 190811,729,0062,017,0003,080,1484,926,537646
Gold Sovereign 190912,157,0992,057,0003,029,5384,526,27016,273
Gold Sovereign 191022,379,6242,135,0003,054,5475,646,04928,012
Ottawa Branch Mint, Canada commences in 1908.  (
1) Satin Proofs only, extremely rare

King Edward VII lived from 9 November 1841 until he died after a series of heart attacks on 6 May 1910. The son of Queen Victoria and the first British monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. He reigned from 22 January 1901 until his death. Edward has the distinction of having been heir apparent to the throne longer than anyone and was the second oldest man to ascend to the throne in British history.

As king, he took a deep interest in foreign policy and by his travels helped to promote better international understanding.

Edward’s reign, now called the Edwardian period, saw the first official recognition of the office of the Prime Minister as well as the establishment of the branch mint in Ottawa, Canada. He became the first British monarch to visit Russia in 1907 and after the Boer War played a role in the modernization of the British Home Fleet and the reform of the Army Medical Services.

The King Edward VII sovereign set spans nine years, three mints and includes 27 coins altogether. Although this is a slightly larger number of coins to collect when compared with other obverse types, one appealing aspect of this series is that no real rarity has yet emerged from among them, (As may be seen from the table below). This allows collectors who may be working on a modest budget just as much opportunity to acquire each coin in the set as another collector with much greater amounts of money to spend. That is not to say that the current situation will continue forever, as future demand patterns may cause one or two dates to emerge as being far harder to obtain than most collectors appreciate today. Furthermore, due to the methods by which King Edward sovereigns were produced, handled and stored, they are extremely difficult to obtain graded Choice Uncirculated or better. Indeed, a complete set of Edward sovereigns in such impeccable quality has probably never been seen.

Discerning numismatists will appreciate that the King Edward obverse has the lowest relief of any Australian sovereign. Contact marks and wear that would be focused on a small surface area on another sovereign is spread over a wide portion of Edward’s portrait. Collectors will do well to examine the following points for wear and contact marks:

  • 1. The area on Edward’s head just below his bald patch, running from the back of his head to the top of his forehead;
  • 2. The forehead, eyebrow and upper cheek;
  • 3. The jawline running from below the ear to the tip of the chin;
  • 4. The vertical line running from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock.

Edward VII Reign

Aside from the Boer War of 1899~1902 Edward ruled peacefully and successfully during his short reign, remarkable considering the shifts in European power that occurred in the first decade of the twentieth century. His extensive foreign travels gave him a solid foundation as an ambassador in foreign relations – quite a few of the foreign houses of Europe were his relatives, and this allowed him to actively assist in foreign policy negotiations. Victoria’s fears regarding the “eccentric” personal habits he displayed earlier in life proved wrong: Edward’s forays into foreign policy had direct bearing on the foreign alliances Great Britain created with both France and Russia, and aside from his sexual indiscretions, his manner and style endeared him to the Empire’s populace. Edward maintained an active social life, and his penchant for playboy accouterments set trends among the fashionable.

His Majesty the King Edward VII of the United Kingdom of Britain and Ireland

Edward VII as a child.

His nickname amongst the family was Bertie.
Bertie was frequently seen at theatres and restaurants Europe-wide. At a restaurant called Rules in Covent Garden London he was a frequent visitor for dinner in their private upstairs rooms.

His actual name was Albert Edward and as the eldest son of Queen Victoria he automatically became the Duke of Cornwall and the Duke of Rothesay.
In due course of time, he was also created Earl of Chester, Earl of Dunlin and both a Knight of the Garter and Knight of the Thistle.

Because of the problems of his German Ancestry (Salic Law forbade the same person to be king of Hanover and of Britain) he renounced his succession rights to the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and these passed to his younger brother Prince Alfred. Edward was actually a good student ad studied at Edinburgh University, and both Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

Edwards main problem in life was very similar to that of Prince Charles the Prince of Wales. He was brought up to be King – and his mother Queen Victoria reigned for a long, long time.

From 1860 onwards, Edward went travelling through the USA and Canada where he met many famous people and even watched Blondin cross Niagara Fall on a highwire.
He performed many duties in Canada, inaugurating the Victoria Bridge in Montreal land laid the cornerstone for Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

He was equally popular in America and met many famous literary figures including Longellow, Emerson and Wendell Holmes. Bertie wanted a military career but this was thwarted because of his position as heir apparent.
Nevertheless, Bertie managed to go on manouvres in Ireland where an actress was smuggled into his tent!  Bertie had not changed.

Prince Albert was furious at this naughtiness and reprimanded Bertie soundly. and regrettably died two weeks later. Queen Victoria blamed Bertie for Alberts death and never forgave him.

Bertie was sent off to the Middle East where he visited a number of countries including Egypt, Jerusalem, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey.

In 1863 Edward and Alexandra married.

After the wedding they lived at Marlborough House in London and at Sandringham House in Norfolk.

Bertie continued his playboy lifestyle with interest in boats, racehorse and … women! He became infamous for his long list of conquests (well over 50 ladies) and as a coincidence, one of those was Alice Keppel (the great grandmother of Camilla Parker-Bowles) and Camilla of course eventually married Prince Charles.

Although Berties list of ladies included some very famous women, including Sarah Bernhardt and the Countess of Warwick,
Bertie never acknowledged any of their offspring as being his children.

While Queen Victoria stayed in Mourning for Albert, Bertie represented her at many functions including the Opening of Tower Bridge and the Mersey Tunnel. After a very successful tour of India by Bertie, Queen Victoria was given the title of Empress of India by Parliament.

Edward continued in the Playboy lifestyle with a huge interest in Horseracing and of course the ladies together with gambling and hunting. He made wearing Tweed popular together with Norfolk Jackets and Black-Tie Dinners (prior to these formal dinners were always white tie).

Because of his huge waist (48 inches) it became his habit to leave the bottom jacket button of his suits undone …
(This is still fashionable today in Britain). probably due to his bringing in the Sunday tradition of eating roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and veggies into popularity in Britain. .

He did suffer an assassination attempt by a man called Jean Baptiste Sipido shot at him.

In 1901 Queen Victoria died and Edward became King.

King Edward VII in Coronation Robes

During the Reign of King Edward VII both sovereigns and half-sovereigns bearing his image on the obverse were minted from 1902 to 1910
King Edward VII was crowned at the age of sixty and his sovereigns are very much sought after.
He was the prime mover of Britain into the 20th Century. His fairly short reign makes these coins highly valued by collectors.

The Reverse of King Edward VII sovereigns is the beautiful Pistrucci design of St George and the Dragon
Gold Sovereigns were also minted at

Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Bombay, Ottawa, and Pretoria

He and Alexandra were crowned in Westminster Abbey on 9th August 1902
Edward VII became the most popular King for over 200 years.
Edard developed Appendicitis and had a groundbreaking operation that was very successful. Edward went abroad on holiday to Biarritz and to Marienbad.

In 1908 he became the first British Monarch to visit Russia

Edward VII created the Territorial Army and a naval defense force including torpedos King Edward VII died after contracting Bronchitis in Biarritz just after he had returned to Buckingham Palace.

The sporting king.

Albert Edward was the second child and eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester were two titles created by his mother and bestowed upon him when he was one month old. In 1863, he married Alexandra, the eldest daughter of Prince Christian (later King Christian IX) of Denmark. Despite being notorious for having extramarital affairs, he became an icon in social circles and was a renowned horseman and hunter. He succeeded to the throne as Edward VII after Victoria’s death in 1901.

Edward VII restored luster to the monarchy that had largely been missing during the waning years of Victoria’s reign. Being related to most of Europe’s royalty made Edward VII’s role as an ambassador easier and helped him negotiate crucial alliances for England. An excellent judge of character, he surrounded himself with brilliant military leaders who kept England poised in the years leading up to World War I.

At today’s prices, these BU Kings are a steal. Great for sets!

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