Royal Mint expands into Indian market with first Indian sovereigns since 1918

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February 21, 2013 – “It is great to see gold Sovereign coins being introduced back into India for the first time in almost 100 years. This will no doubt be a boost for The Royal Mint as they re-enter the largest gold market in the world,” stated British Prime Minister David Cameron.

The obverse shows the portrait of Her Majesty The Queen, and the reverse shows the Benedetto Pistrucci ‘St. George and the Dragon’ design that was featured on the original 1918 Bombay Sovereign.

This time sees potential history in the making, with the announcement of a new partnership between The Royal Mint and MMTC-PAMP India to strike The Royal Mint’s gold Sovereign commemorative coins in India for the first time in nearly a century.

This significant development, revealed on February 17, 2013 in New Delhi, will allow the Indian public to purchase genuine versions of the Sovereign, one of the world’s most famous coins and a lasting symbol of beauty and integrity. These commemorative Sovereigns, struck in India by MMTC-PAMP using tools and techniques developed by The Royal Mint in South Wales, UK, will be uniquely available to the Indian market and will carry the special mint mark “I” to show that they have been manufactured there.

Tooling for the 2013 Commemorative Sovereign that is commencing production in India for the first time in the country since 1918, manufactured in a partnership between The Royal Mint and MMTC-PAMP.

India is the largest market in the world for gold, and the gold medal market is estimated at c.80 tonnes by GMFS. Gold coins play a key role in Indian wedding ceremonies and festivals throughout the year, so The Royal Mint’s decision to license the striking of their flagship coin to MMTC-PAMP India is likely to be a popular one. Residents of India have been unable to buy genuine commemorative Sovereigns since 1918, when The Royal Mint operated a branch mint in India for a single year during which a staggering 1,300,000 Sovereigns were struck.

This new agreement will seek to re-establish The Royal Mint brand and the iconic Sovereign in this major market. This will allow the Indian public to buy an authentic UK commemorative Sovereign specially minted in India for the first time in almost 100 years. This should have long term benefits to the Indian public and to the integrity of The Royal Mint brand and the Sovereign itself.

Deputy Master of The Royal Mint, Adam Lawrence said “As the oldest manufacturing organisation in the UK and the world’s leading export mint, we are delighted to be entering another exciting chapter in The Royal Mint’s 1100 year history. This partnership with MMTC-PAMP India will introduce genuine commemorative Sovereigns back into the Indian market, satisfying significant demand for the coin, and allow The Royal Mint to develop a new revenue stream”.

Mr Mehdi Barkhodar, Chairman of MMTC-PAMP and Managing Director of PAMP SA said “The return of the authentic Royal Mint commemorative Sovereign to India has been a much-anticipated event. The Indian consumer deserves nothing but the best, however, until now their only option was to buy replica Sovereign coins.  Therefore, I have no doubt that the re-emergence of the highly-prized authentic Sovereign coins will be warmly welcomed by those wishing to purchase the genuine article for their wedding or special occasion”.

Early 19th century Sovereign die featuring the Benedetto Pistrucci ‘St. George and the Dragon’ design, pictured together with a facsimile of an original Benedetto Pistrucci sketch for the Sovereign.

Featuring the same classic Benedetto Pistrucci ‘St George and the Dragon’ design as the Sovereigns struck in India in 1918, striking of the 2013 Indian Sovereign has commenced in MMTC-PAMP India’s world class facility near Delhi. The first production run will be for 50,000 pieces and will be available in the market from February 17, 2013.

Shane Bissett, The Royal Mint’s Director of Commemorative Coin and Bullion said “The Sovereign is the oldest traded commemorative coin that is still manufactured today and is also the most precisely specified gold coin. Its quality and specification is protected by the annual Trial of the Pyx; at over 750 years old the oldest quality control process still being used today. The commemorative coins struck in India will go through this quality process in the same way as all UK coins. This opportunity allows The Royal Mint to enter the largest market in the world for gold.”

These gold Sovereigns will be available for sale to customers in India, initially at select jewellery outlets in Delhi and subsequently pan-India through MMTC-PAMP India’s distribution network and selected banks.

You can learn more about the sovereign on the website of The Royal Mint.