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HomeGold CoinsSovereign Gold Coins
Sovereign Gold Coins

Sovereign Gold Coins

The British Sovereign gold coins are the most prestigious bullion gold coins in the world and due to their legal tender status in the UK they are Capital Gains Tax free. The Sovereign is The Royal Mint’s 22 carat gold flagship coin. For two centuries The Sovereign has been a constant of British coinage, admired and trusted through times of change. Sovereigns are made to the highest standards and are a valuable addition to any investment portfolio. We are proud to be an authorised Royal Mint distributor.

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Buying Sovereign coins

The Sovereign is without a doubt the world’s most famous gold bullion coin, a coin so beautiful and rich in history, a coin of such supreme design and craftsmanship, it is rightfully considered the flagship coin of the Royal Mint, and for most people is synonymous with Britain herself. Charged with history and emotion, the gold sovereign is a top priority choice for investors and coin collectors alike.

How much is a Sovereign Gold coin worth?

Please note face value of the coins is not the true value – in today’s economic climate Sovereign coins are worth much more which is why gold bullion is such a good investment. For sure the price you will get paid is the Sovereign gold bullion value and not the face value. Also the condition of the coin is very important for a sale. It might be worth much less if it was used in jewellery before. You will find out how to calculate the price of a Sovereign in the next paragraph.

Price of gold Sovereign coins

The Sovereign gold coin price is dependent on the current gold spot price and the coin size of a Sovereign. A Full Sovereign gold coin is often worth more than double in comparison to a Half Sovereign Gold Coin. We also buy Gold Sovereign coins at competitive market prices so if you want to cash in on your investment contact a friendly member of our customer services team and we will offer you a fixed valuation and confirm our offer by email.

Sovereign description

The Sovereign is 1.52 mm thick, and 22.05 mm in diameter. On the obverse side of modern Sovereigns we find the head portraits of British monarchs George III, George IV (2 versions), William IV, Victoria (4 versions), Edward VII, and George V (two versions). The coins bear various inscriptions. An interesting characteristic is that consecutive monarchs face opposite sides from one another. The new Queen Elizabeth II Sovereigns carry three versions of Her Majesty’s effigy and bear the inscriptions " ELIZABETH II DEI GRA REGINA FID DEF", meaning "Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, Queen-Defender of the Faith ". The phrases or letters have been used regularly on coinage since the 16th century. Being impressed and inspired by the Parthenon marbles at the British Museum, famous Italian sculptor and engraver Benedetto Pistrucci undertook to provide a jasper cameo of St George, the patron saint of England that would prove an excellent and distinctive reverse side design for the new gold coin, the one most commonly used in Sovereigns. The picture of Saint George slaying the evil dragon is still in use on British gold Sovereigns, although with a few minor variations. Other reverse designs have also been used during the reigns of King William IV (1830-1837), Queen Victoria (Young Head Sovereign 1838-1887 and Old Head Sovereign 1893-1901), King George IV (1911-1932), and Queen Elizabeth II, the most common one being the crowned shield. The date of issue appears on the reverse side. Sovereign coins have a grained milled edge on both sides.

Sovereign: Investment and numismatic value at its highest

The English gold Sovereign came into existence in 1489 under King Henry VII, it was last minted in 1604, and the name was revived with the Great Recoinage of 1816. The British Royal Mint began striking new (modern) Sovereigns in 1817 with a nominal value of one pound sterling which had been a unit of account for centuries. It remains until this day the face value of the coin, although its market value has entirely differentiated. Modern gold Sovereigns were officially in circulation for 114 years, up to the point where Great Britain abandoned the gold standard, and their minting stopped temporarily a few years after WWI. The gold content was fixed by the coin act of 1816 at 0.235420 troy ounces of pure gold (7.322381 g.), and has remained unchanged to the present day: current sovereigns are struck in the same 22 carat (91⅔%) crown gold alloy as the first modern sovereigns of 1817 to make gold coins that are legal tender more durable, so they can resist scratches and dents. It is amazing that Sovereigns were minted in millions in all five continents, parts of which belonged to the British Empire: in the United Kingdom from 1817 to 1917, in 1925, and from 1957 onwards, as well as in three mints in Australia, in India, Canada, and South Africa. Sovereign coins that were minted outside British soil all bear respective mintmarks. These unique gold coins travelled to the four corners of the Earth representing the British Empire’s great power in trade and commerce. The new gold Sovereigns were struck as commemorative coins for Queen Victoria’s coronation, but in 1957 the Royal Mint continued issuing the coin, this time strictly for investors and collectors. The Sovereign’s solid faith in tradition, together with its long history and global acceptance makes the coin a perfect option for investors who are looking for a coin with numismatic, aesthetic and historical value.

The production of Sovereign coins

Since 2009, the Royal Mint operates as Royal Mint Ltd, a private company that has an exclusive contract with HM Treasury to supply all coinage for the UK. Today, Sovereigns are minted at the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Wales. The Royal Mint uses the most progressive and technologically advanced minting techniques to ensure the quality of its coins. In the case of Sovereigns, however, the most important element is uniformity. Each coin is made of 22-carat gold and weighs 7.9880 g. The accuracy to four decimal points is specified by law.

The accuracy of the engraving is also important, so for all the modern production methods, the tools used by the engravers who create the designs have hardly changed since the days of the Great Recoinage. Sovereigns were produced in large quantities until World War I, at which time the UK came off the gold standard. In 1817, 3,235,239 King George III gold Sovereigns were struck, while in 1818 there were only 2,347,230 coins produced. Today, this version sells between £550 and £2000 depending on the coin’s condition. In most cases, there is an abundance of Sovereigns on the market since The Royal Mint keep the policy of high mintage. Nevertheless, there are always special dates, designs and even mintmarks that can be extremely rare and collectible, such as certain Australian issues.

Royal Mint Quality Assurance

Forgery is nothing new for Sovereigns. Since the time of Queen Victoria, the "trade" had taken such large proportions that the Queen ordered the reminting of Sovereigns every 15 years, so that the coins could be checked and repaired. Today, the Royal Mint takes counterfeiting and fraud extremely seriously, and as all Sovereign coins are minted to precise specifications concerning the design, dimensions and weight as defined by legislation. The small size and the finely detailed design of the coin makes the coins incredibly difficult to forge and counterfeit coins can easily be detected by experienced dealers. And believe it or not, but many Sovereign experts swear they can detect genuine Sovereigns by hearing the particular "ring" they make when dropped on a counter or floor.