About this set: Elizabeth II was born on April 21, 1926, in London, England, the oldest child of the Duke of York and his wife, Elizabeth. Her father became King George VI of Great Britain and Ireland in 1936 when his older brother Edward VIII (1894–1972) gave up the throne. She married Philip Mountbatten in November 1947, (a distant cousin) and they had four children—Prince Charles (1948–), Princess Anne (1950–), Prince Andrew (1960–), and Prince Edward (1964–). Elizabeth II became queen of the United Kingdom upon the death of her father in 1952. Elizabeth II has had a long and glorious reign during which the coinage of England underwent significant change. For example, in 1965 it was decided to change to a decimal system of coinage in the year 1971. As part of the transition to decimal coinage the halfpenny and halfcrown were demonetized. Of special interest to the type gold collector are the pre-decimal issues which are of the highest rarity. A few proof gold sovereigns were minted and released to very important people (hence the name VIP Proof Sovereigns) in 1957, 1958, 1959 and 1963. Examples of the VIP Proof Sovereigns have periodically been available at public auction where prices realized have reflected their rarity. The Spencer Collection includes a 1958 VIP Proof Sovereign (Spink #4125) with famous provenance; ex Sharps-Pixley Collection and more recently, ex Terner. The five pound, two pound and half-sovereign pre-decimal proof coins are pretty much non-existent, however a few proof only coins were minted in 1953, but never released to the public.
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