HistoryWired About the Program Help Comments Smithsonian Institution
Back to Map

Related Images

Reverse view

British Gold Sovereign

A sovereign with a sovereign
Featuring Queen Victoria on one side and the royal coat of arms on the other, this gold sovereign is one of two remaining from the bequest of James Smithson in 1838. Smithson, an English scholar, provided in his will "to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase and diffusion of Knowledge among men." Smithson's bequest amounted to 105 bags of British gold sovereigns-worth about $500,000. All but two were melted down, restruck into U.S. currency, and used to fund the Smithsonian.

Deposited in the Smithsonian by the U.S. Mint, 1923
The sovereign was the major trade coinage of the 19th century
James Smithson, born 1765, Paris, France; died June 27, 1829, Genoa, Italy
Web display only

Learn more!
· National Numismatic Collection, NMAH
· From Smithson to Smithsonian: The Birth of an Institution, an NMAH "virtual" exhibition

What do you think?
Would you like to see more objects like this on the site? Tell others by casting your vote.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Fewer More

Start HistoryWired | About the Program | Help | Comments

Smithsonian Institution | Terms of Use | Privacy