British Gold Sovereign Coin

The British sovereign gold bullion coin is the world’s most widely traded semi-numismatic coin. There is a constant and excellent liquidity for this coin in most countries throughout the globe. For the investor looking for slight leverage to the gold price with the potential for the premium (numismatic value) to rise, British sovereigns are a good way to invest in gold.

History of the British Gold Sovereign Coin Line


Because of the relatively valuable nature of the British sovereign, these coins represent a very good investment for the casual gold bullion investor.

The British Gold Sovereign Coin is a one pound sterling coin that is used as bullion in modern society. The current sovereign coin was named after the English gold sovereign. The English sovereign was last made in 1604; however, with the Great Recoinage of 1816, the name was reaffirmed in 1817 and the new coin began to be minted.

From 1817 until 1917, British sovereign coins were minted. The line was then stopped until 1925, when it was minted for that single year. Every year since 1957, the coin has been minted.

Aside from the one pound sterling coin, the current line of British sovereign coins that are minted by the Royal Mint include a five pound quintuple sovereign, two pound double sovereigns and a ten shilling half sovereign.

The Royal Mint began to release the quarter sovereign in the year 2009.

The Coin Act of 1816 set the standard for the weight and the purity of the British Gold Sovereign Coin during the 1817-1917 mintings. During this time, the British Gold Sovereign Coin had an official weight of 7.988052 g, a thickness of 1.52 mm, a diameter of 22.05 mm, a fineness of 22 carats and total gold content of 7.322381 g. In 1971, a new coin act adjusted the official weight of the British Sovereign to 7.98805 gr.

The first reverse design of the coin was a motif of the British shield and crown, which was supplanted by St. George in battle with a dragon figure. The St. George design is still in use today, although certain monarchs mandated different designs for short periods of time.

British law states that coins falling 0.6% below the standard gold content weight are reminted. Usually, a coin will last 15 years before falling below this standard.

Price of the British Gold Sovereign Coi

Because of the relatively tight standard of the British government over sovereign coins, they tend to sell at a higher premium when compared to the price of gold. The British sovereign is both more expensive than the average gold coin and in higher demand from numismatists. British sovereign coins also cost more to properly appraise.

Adding to the value of British sovereigns is the use of special alloys during the minting process to increase the lifespan of the coin. The only deviation from this standard was during the minting of 1887 Australian and London sovereigns, an anomaly that was quickly remedied in subsequent years. Because of this, the 1887 London Mint sovereign coins appear as a more yellowish color than other mintings of the line.

Where to Buy the British Gold Sovereign Coins

Because of the relatively valuable nature of the British sovereign and the difficulty in properly appraising them, special care should be taken to ensure the authenticity of a sovereign when bought. In order to be sure that a supposed British sovereign coin is real, only dealerships that are direct government agencies or which have a direct line to government production sovereign coins should be considered. These companies can be found at the following websites:

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To purchase from an unknown dealer is taking a great deal of risk when dealing with the sale of a British sovereign coin. Counterfeits of the line are among the most numerous of any gold coin on the market today.