Gold Sovereign

Here in this page you will find all the information about the Gold Sovereign. We will discuss the sovereign value and the history of this highly sought-after piece among coin dealers. The Sovereign coin (Sov) is a legendary coin among the rare british coins.

Gold Sovereign 1869
Gold Sovereign with Queen Victory of 1869.

History of the Gold Sovereign

Also known as the “British Sovereign” or “Sovereign”, this rare british coin of 0.23 ounces of pure gold has ancient origins that begin a few centuries ago.

It was created in 1489 after King Henry VII had authorized and requested his minting.

The modern version of the sovereign coin was created in 1817 and the reverse of the coin depicts the image of St George killing a Dragon.

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Since in 1496 the King was Henry VII, on the right of the coin was depicted him, the king, along with a rose. On the other hand, a royal shield was represented on the reverse side.

From then on, the sovereign king will always be depicted on the right of sovereign coins. It is believed that the origin of the name “Sovereign” derives from this fact.

In 1817 the Royal Mint of London (Royal Mint) called Benedetto Pistrucci to create the design of the reverse of the new British Sovereign Coin. The design in question is the iconic image of St. George that kills the dragon. The drawing with San Giorgio on the Sovereign will then be held in this version of Pistrucci, with some slight modifications, also in the reverse of the upcoming gold sovereign.

Modern History of British Sovereign

The representation of the king reigning on the right of the gold british coin has always been preserved and tradition has always been respected.

In 1914, when the First World War exploded, the british gold sovereigns were removed from circulation because England abandoned gold as a monetary unit. Production outside Great Britain, for example in Sydney, Bombay etc., was also finished in 1932.

In 1957, the minting of gold british coins was resumed to prevent the creation of counterfeit coins from Italy and Syria, which flourished after the production of gold coins ceased in 1914. Modern gold pounds, the investment coins, were reproduced only from the year 2000 onwards.

Did you know this?: The Mint of England also minted a denomination of coins of 10 shillings (half a sovereign), one coin of 2 pounds weight (double sovereign), and one coin of 5 pounds (sovereign quintuple).

Sovereign Prices: What do they depend on?

The quotation and the vlue of the Gold Sovereign depends essentially on 2 factors, both of which are fundamental:

The first factor is the current quotation of gold and therefore the quantity of gold contained in the coin. The second factor that determines 1 sovereign gold price is the numismatic value of the rare coin itself.

In particular, the value depends on the conservation conditions of the single coin, the year of mintage and other minor factors.

sterlina d'oro
Queen Elizabeth on a gold sovereign (sov 2018 update)
These characteristics are both subjective to each coin and therefore they vary from piece to piece, from coin to coin.

For example, a coinage that has a value, from the “Numismatic” point of view, greater than those produced before, is that of the year 1957. Also known as “the new coinage” it was started to combat the counterfeiting of coins and it was not put into circulation.

The combination of these two factors depends on the quotation of the Gold Sovereign. As the factor that takes into consideration the value of gold is not constant, it follows that the coin quotation is not always the same but is subject to minor variations in short periods.

How Much is a Sovereign Worth?

As we wrote in the previous paragraph, the value of the British Sovereign depends above all on two factors: the current price of gold and the preservation of the coin (numismatic appearance).

However, they are not the only factors to consider when you want to calculate the value of 1 sovereign gold. In fact, the sovereign value also depends on whether it is a numismatic coin or an investment coin.

Gold Sovereign for Numismatists

A numismatic sovereign coin is a coin that has some peculiarities.

For example, it may have some tanning defects or be coined in particular years, when a small number of them have been emitted.

Depending on these elements, british sovereign price, in this case 1 sovereign gold, may increase or decrease.

Gold Sovereign for Investment

An investment 2018 gold sovereign is defined by clear characteristics.

The coin must have been legal tender for the country where it was produced. The gold sovereign coin must have a purity of 900 /1000.

The british sovereign must have a difference of 80% or less between the quotation and the selling price (spread). The coin must have been minted after 1800.

All these factors, details and particular requirements make it very difficult to give a single unequivocal value for 1 sovereign gold

Where to Buy Gold Sovereigns

Buy gold sovereigns or even sell gold sovereigns is quite simple.

If you would like to have a piece of 1 sovereign gold for investment purposes or because of their historical or numismatic value, you can easily buy gold sovereigns by consulting the auction list on this site.

Check out if you find the coin you are looking for, then sign up (it’s free) and make an offer straight away.

We have explained in detail how to manage british coins auction on this page.

Gold Sovereign Weight

The gross weight of 1 sovereign gold is 7.98 grams.

The net weight of 1 sovereign gold is calculated on that basis. This calculation can be made knowing the purity of the gold used for the minting.

Purity is 91.7%. From here it can be seen that the net weight in gold of the gold sovereign is about 7.3 grams (0.23 ounces).

The part that is not gold is copper, used to reinforce the coin. This is because pure gold is a soft metal and therefore delicate above all for a coin that must circulate from hand to hand.

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Gold Sovereign Price

The Golden Pound has always been a very demanded currency. It is also very much in demand at the moment. Why?

The purity of the raw material from which it is made leads to being one of the safest “safe haven goods” in which to invest your money, in addition to gold bars or jewelry.

How much is a sovereign? The price of the gold sovereign is currently fluctuating. These variations are sometimes quite remarkable. The value of gold is of course the first determining factor that affects gold sovereign price. Currently, the value of gold is just over €36 per gram.

Since the gold sovereign coin consists of 91.7% pure gold and a net weight of 7.32 grams, only its gold value is approximately 265 €. Currently the value of the Golden Pound is about 265€ for demand and 300€ for supply.

Between the new and the old coinage there are small variations of a few Euro. In other words, to own a british sovereign is “almost” equivalent to having an authentic gold ingot at home, of the same weight as the coin.

British Coins – Drawings and Dates of Sovereigns

The table below shows the years of coin minting and coin designs. There are also marked the rarest pieces.

british sovereign date
(sov 2018 updated list)

Is my sovereign coin authentic or fake?

Do you remember when we mentioned the new minting of 1957? It was on that specific occasion that it was attempted to limit the damage caused by counterfeiting of the Golden Pound. The minting of gold coins was carried out mainly in Syria and Italy.

You should therefore always be very cautious when you want to buy or sell Gold Pounds or all rare coins in general. A rule that is always valid to avoid running into a counterfeit coin is to rely on professional operators or services.

This is a list of 4 notes that will help you understand if your rare coin is fake or authentic.

Always take these 4 factors into consideration:

  • Touch the coin and examine it to your touch. Counterfeit gold pounds are smoother to the touch and with sharper contours than real coins.
  • Listen to the coin and examine it with your hearing. Get a real coin to use as a sample and use it as a tuning fork. Holding it firmly between thumb and forefinger, tap it lightly with another coin on the edge. Now do the same with the coin you want to analyse. If the sounds are different, doubt its authenticity.
  • Check dates: using the table above, check the dates of production of the coin. Very often in years when authentic coins have not been minted, counterfeit coins are produced.
  • Verify the weight, size and thickness of the coin by taking a table as a reference.

We talked about the gold pound quotation but we have not yet talked about its real value depending on the year of its minting.

Gold Sovereign value: Year 1841

A 1841 Gold Sovereign with the head of the young queen's head victory
A 1841 Sovereign with the head of the young queen’s head victory

The value is £5000, but some of them have reached £25,000 at auction.

Gold Sovereign value: Year 1917

The value is £385, but some of them have reached £10,000 at auction.

Gold Sovereign Value: Year 1958

The gold pound of 1958 is one of the most sought-after and commercialised productions of all gold sovereigns: on the straight side the coin presents the first portrait of Queen Elizabeth II (the one with the bow) and on the reverse side a drawing by Saint George with the dragon.

The value of the 1958 sovereign coin d is about 250 euro for an object in good condition, and 300 if in excellent storage conditions.

Gold Sovereign Value: Year 1966 – 1967

The value of the gold pound of 1966 is around 315€ if kept in good condition. The value of the 1967 gold pound reaches up to 350 Euro because it has a smaller production quantity.

These two coins are quite easy to find in the collectors, coin dealers or numismatics circuits, where they are often preserved in excellent condition.

Gold Sovereign Value: 1974

The value of the 1974 sovereign coin is between 300 and 310 euro. This coin on the right bears the second portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, while on the other side I reverse the usual Saint George who kills the Dragon. It is not a particularly rare coin or difficult to find among collectors, coin dealers or sellers of ancient coins.

Gold Sovereign Value: 1989

This coinage represents Queen Elizabeth II and was produced to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the coinage of the first coin “Sovereign of England”. Its value is more than 500% of the value of the gold it contains and is around 900-1000 €.

Gold Sovereign Value:  2014 – 2015

The value of the 2014 sovereign coin is approximately 300/350 euro. The coin shows on the straight side the portrait number four of Queen Elizabeth II. The “Sovereign of England” 2015 has a value of about 400 Euros and shows on the straight line the fifth portrait of the Queen.

Investing in Gold Sovereigns

The British Sovereign is one of the most sought-after coins in the world. That is because investing in gold sovereigns is always a good idea. The Sovereign coin is always researched by both numismatic collectors and investors (or coin dealers) and his value in gold keeps its quotation in the time and it is never subject to devaluation.

It can be deduced that the Sovereign is an excellent investment.  So if you have a chance to buy 1 sovereign gold, please note all the advice we’ve given you above.

The following british coins are the rarest gold british sovereign and worth investing in:

  • sovereign of 1817, the first modern Sovereign.
  • sovereign of (quality UNC) of the kingdoms of George II, George IV and William IV.
  • sovereign coin of 1838 with Queen Victoria.
  • sovereign coin of 1841, the rarest among Queen Victoria.
  • 1917 sovereign coin coined in London in the last year of Royal Mint’s production.
  • 1989 sovereign coin with Elizabeth II for the commemoration of the 500th anniversary.

Curiosity: The most expensive gold sovereign coin ever purchased was taken to an auction in 2014 for the record amount of £516,000. It was one of the only two existing “proof” examples of a “Sovereign of 1937” that was coined for the coronation of King Edward VIII who abdicated before the coin was put into production.

Buy and sell gold sovereigns: The Spread

The spread in buying and selling gold coins is an important concept to understand. In 2009, one ounce of gold came in at £600 (150 pounds per 0.23 ounces). The same year, the gold pounds, which contain 0.23 ounces of gold, were sold for GBP 299. In practice, the gold pound was twice the value of the gold it was made of.

So it is important to buy and sell at the right time and consider the spread.

Gold Sovereign Variants

In the variants of the “Sovereign”, the king or the queen in turn always appears on the straight of these british coins. The back of the coinstill depicts San Giorgio, who fights the dragon on horseback (in some cases there is the British coat of arms).

The different variations of the gold pounds are as follows:

Gold Sovereign Coin with “King George III” (1817-1820)

King George III was the first sovereign to have a Sovereign minting of 22 carats and 7.3224 g of pure gold, a standard still used today for british sovereigns.

Gold Sovereign st george sovereign
St george sovereign:  Sovereign Coin with “King George III” (1817-1820)

Gold Sovereign Coin with King George IV

The king has con una corona d’alloro (diritto) and St. George with the horse and the dragon(rovescio) – (1821-1825)

Gold Sovereign st george sovereign 1821
St george Sovereign 1821

St George Sovereign Coin with King George IV with Royal Coat of Arms

Gold Sovereign George IV with British royal coat of arms (1828)
British Coins: George IV with British royal coat of arms (1828)

King George IV with a less evident crown (obverse) and the British royal coat of arms (rovesce) (1825-1830)

Other Variants:

  • Gold sovereign “King William IV” (1831-1837)
  • Gold sovereign “Queen Victoria” (1838-1901)
  • Gold sovereign “King Edward VII” (1902-1910)
  • Gold sovereign “King George V” (1911- 1932 più 1949,1951,1952)
  • Gold sovereign “King Edward VIII” (1936)
  • Gold sovereign “King George VI” (1936-1952)
  • Gold sovereign “Queen Eliszbeth II” (1957 – oggi)

There are 5 versions of the last one (sov 2018 update):

  • 1° portrait – 1958 – 1959  e  1962 – 1968
  • 2° portrait– 1974,    1976,     1978 – 1982
  • 3° portrait– It is present only in a few copies
  • 4° portrait– 2000 – 2004, 2006 – 2011,  2013, 2014, 2015
  • 5° portrait from 2016

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Autore dell'articolo

Marco Salvatori
Marco Salvatori

I don't like to call myself a Numismatic but rather a passionate collector of italian lira, modern and even ancient coins. I love studying the history of our country through coins and each piece tells me its story.

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