The Royal Mint is heading back into the world’s biggest gold market after nearly a century’s absence as it announced plans to produce sovereigns in India today.
The announcement came on the first day of Prime Minister David Cameron’s three-day trade mission. Cameron said: “It is great to see gold sovereign coins being introduced back into India for the first time in almost 100 years.”
Gold coins play a key role in Indian wedding ceremonies and festivals. More than 250 tonnes of the precious metal were bought for jewellery and investment purposes last year, according to the World Gold Council.
The sovereigns will be produced under licence for the first time, with the Mint receiving a licence payment for every sovereign struck in India, potentially earning around £125 million a year for the Treasury in three years’ time.
The 22-carat sovereigns, weighing 7.98g and 91.7% gold, will be worth around £240 each based on today’s gold prices.
The Mint last operated a branch mint in India for a single year in 1918, to fund exports to Allied countries in the First World War and pay Indian troops. before the mint closed 1.3 million sovereigns were struck.
The coins will be marked with an ‘I’ to reflect their Indian production.