Gold Sovereign Coins

The Gold Sovereign Coin is a British coin that is produced by the Royal Mint as a bullion coin and released for investors and collectors. With some designs being issued in limited numbers the coin attracts a lot of interest and is considered one of the standard ways in which investors can build a gold holding of their own. Steeped in history there are many examples of gold sovereigns in the UK including those that have been in circulation as well as bullion coins. Some examples of gold sovereign coins are more scarce than others and can attract significant premiums due to their rarity. The decision to buy gold sovereigns is widely regarded as a secure investment and, coupled with other forms of precious metals, offers a way to diversify a traditional investment portfolio to achieve a balance of paper and physical assets. When it comes to choosing where to buy gold sovereigns, Physical Gold has plenty of options for both investors and collectors including single investment opportunities of rare and collectible coins in addition to our bullion coins.
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gold sovereign english
The original English Sovereign. Image via National Museum of American History, Wikipedia.
Used in general circulation until 1932, the gold sovereign is an iconic British coin, examples of which can be found dating back to its original issue in 1817 to present day. The sovereign is based on a coin originally minted in 1489 called the English Gold Sovereign. Produced up until 1604, these historic pieces of gold were largely produced as bullion but occasionally used in general circulation. The English Gold Sovereign is an extremely rare gold coin and was a much revered coin during its day. Originally weighing half a troy ounce, King Henry VIII decreased the gold content from 23-carat to 22-carat. Dubbed ‘crown gold’ this revision became the gold standard by which both Britain and the U.S. has adhered to.The English sovereign was replaced by the Sovereign in 1817 following the Great Recoinage of 1816. Prior to this, the weight of sovereigns (as well as other coins) fluctuated dramatically. The Coin Act provided a strict technical specification for the new sovereigns (and other coins) that remains in place today, though a small degree of adjustment was made following the adoption of decimalisation.The coins were minted exclusively in the UK between the period 1817 to 1917 when production was shared with mints in Canada, Australia and South Africa. In 1957 the coin’s production was returned exclusively to the Royal Mint until 2013 when a deal with Indian based manufacturers, MMTC-PAMP, took over some of the minting. The techniques used at MMTC-PAMP are identical to the Welsh based Royal Mint but coins produced overseas bear a special ‘I’ mark to distinguish them from British produced sovereigns.Over the years, many designs of sovereign have been issued as well as several variations including the half sovereign, double sovereign and quintuple sovereign.

2017 Gold Sovereign and 2017 Gold Half Sovereign

With the exception of 34 individual years, the gold sovereign has been produced annually with the 2017 gold sovereign being the most recent example. Produced solely for the investment and collector’s market, the 2017 gold sovereign features the fifth portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Jodie Kidd. Marking 200 years of the sovereign’s George and Dragon design on the reverse, this coin is a perfect partner coin to the Gold Britannia which also marks an important anniversary in 2017 (30 years).The 2017 Gold Half Sovereign, the diminutive cousin of the full sovereign offers a lower price entry point for more modest investments whilst offering the same degree of liquidity and diversity offered by gold coins over gold bars.

2016 Sovereign

The 2016 sovereign was the last issue before the current 2017 anniversary issue and is therefore he most recent gold sovereign bullion coin that does not attract a buyer’s premium.

Is it best to buy old or new Sovereigns?

The best type of Sovereign to buy will depend on your objectives and budget. Brand new (current year) Sovereigns are actually the cheapest to buy as they don’t yet hold a historical or scarcity value. Older Sovereigns cost more to buy for these reasons but are worth more and may rise in value quicker. Ideally a mix of the two types will achieve the most balance. Read more.

What are gold Sovereign bonds (SGB)?

SGBs are an alternative to holding physical gold. Paper bonds denominated in gold grams are issued by The Reserve Bank of India and offer a fixed maturity date whereby the investor receives back an amount based on the underlying gold price.

What are gold Sovereign coins?

Sovereign coins are 22 carat UK gold coins issued by The Royal Mint since 1817. With a face value of £1, they were initially circulated but are now popular amongst investors and collectors. Their value can rise with the price of gold and also with their scarcity and antiquity. Any gains are tax free.

How much are gold Sovereign coins worth?

The value of a Gold Sovereign depends on several variables. Firstly the gold content value can be calculated by multiplying the current gold price by 7.32g. The age and condition of the coin will also impact the worth, with Victorian gold Sovereigns being valued higher than newer coins. Finally, a private collector may pay higher for a particular Sovereign than a jeweller for instance.

How heavy is a gold sovereign?

The total weight of a gold Sovereign is 7.98 grams or 0.2566 ounces. However, the gold content of the coin is only 7.32g, with the remainder consisting of copper and silver alloys to toughen the coin. Care should be taken not to mistake the Full Sovereign with the smaller Half Sovereign which weighs 3.99g.

How to clean gold Sovereigns?

The best way to clean dirty gold Sovereign coins is in a mix or warm water and liquid soap. Let the coins soak for 15 minutes before carefully wiping dry with a cloth. Boiling water from a kettle can be added into the bowl for stubborn grime. Avoid using a brush or strong chemicals.

How to sell gold Sovereign coins

It’s best to sell your Sovereign gold coins to a reputable gold dealer. This will ensure you receive a fair price that reflects the gold content and the numismatic value of the coin. Members of the British Numismatic Trade Association (BNTA) are trustworthy.

How much are gold Sovereign rings worth?

The main value will come from the Sovereign itself. If the coin is in good condition and features a previous monarch, it will be worth more than an Elizabeth Head coin. The value of the coin itself is £200 - £300 depending on age and condition. The ring is likely to be lower purity so will only add a marginal value of 10-15%.

Why buy gold Sovereigns?

Old Sovereigns are small in size and therefore affordable. Having been produced for over 200 years, they’re very easy to sell on and can make a good investment if the gold price goes up. Their value generally increases with age and any profit made on their sale is completely tax exempt in the UK.

What is a gold Sovereign worth in Sterling?

Value will depend on its condition and age. Brand new coins are worth around £240 each while Young Head Victoria coins are worth over £300 due to their age and rarity. Selling privately on an individual basis may yield higher prices if you can find a keen buyer. If selling in bulk, a gold dealer is best.

What carat is a gold Sovereign?

Gold Sovereigns are 22 carat purity, the same they’ve been for over 200 years. This works out around 916/1000 parts gold. The other two carrats are a mix copper and silver alloy. The exact mix can vary from year to year. This alloy mix ensures the coins are more resilient to scratched than 24 carat coins.

Which gold Sovereign is the most valuable

George III Sovereigns have proved to be the most valuable due to their scarcity, with one fetching £186,000 at auction. Of the commonly traded and readily available bullion Gold Sovereigns, the Young Head Victoria tends to be the most valuable with prices around £300 each. Proof and rarer modern Sovereigns can also fetch higher prices like the Elizabeth Third Head which trades around £400.

Which gold Sovereign to buy

The best old Sovereign to buy based on price is the current year of issue Sovereign as prices are based more on gold content. If seeking a combination of value and history, the George V and Elizabeth coins provide the optimum all round solution. If buying a number of Sovereigns, a combination with older Victoria coins is best.

Where to sell gold Sovereign coins

The best overall place to sell gold Sovereigns is to a specialist gold dealer who will pay you based on the sell-on value rather than just a melt value. A BNTA accredited dealer is a must if you consider trust to be a selling consideration. Selling privately is an option for rarer Sovereigns as collectors may pay a premium.

Where to buy gold Sovereign coins

Its safest to buy gold Sovereigns directly from a reputable precious metals dealer. reputable precious metals dealer. If the dealer has the right credentials, it will ensure the Sovereigns are authentic, in great condition and at a competitive price. Many now have ecommerce stores, making it easy to buy online. Buying from a jeweller, an auction or privately are other options, but they pose significant risks.

Can you melt gold Sovereigns?

Under the 1971 UK Coinage Act, it’s illegal to melt down any UK coin with a face value. Which covers Sovereigns. More importantly, melting a Sovereign will devalue the gold, which is worth more minted as a Sovereign due to its tax efficiency as legal tender and recognisable trading format.

Can you spend a gold Sovereign?

Yes! Gold Sovereigns have a face value of £1, which means shopkeepers would have to accept it as legal tender. But with the gold content alone, pushing the value above £200, it would be foolish to use a Sovereign to buy goods.

One gold Sovereign is how many grams?

The total weight of a newly minted Sovereign is 7.98 grams. The old content itself weighs 7.32g, with the remainder consisting of a copper and silver alloy. Coins may weigh slightly less as they become older and wear on the face and edges.

Is a gold Sovereign legal tender?

Old Sovereigns are legal tender in the UK due to their £1 face value. In theory you can use a Sovereign to purchase goods up to £1 in value, but the gold content of the coin is worth far more. It’s legal tender status is important for gold investors as it deems any profits made from Sovereigns as tax free.

Gold Sovereign vs Britannia

Gold Sovereigns are around one quarter the size of Britannias (1oz), making them slightly more expensive per gram due to the higher relative production cost. However, their smaller size provides more flexibility for gold investors. A mix of both is preferable in a portfolio, especially as both coins are tax free in the UK due to their legal tender status.

Gold Sovereign vs Krugerrand

Gold Sovereigns can be a better purchase for UK investors than a Krugerrand as any profits are tax free. While a Krugerrand can provide a cheaper overall purchase cost per gram due to its larger size, dealers may pay less for them and any profits are taxable. Sovereigns have been around for far longer so provide the possibility of owning more historical coins.

Gold Sovereign vs Half Sovereign

Both coins are tax free when bought and sold in the UK. A full Sovereign contains 7.32g of gold, with the smaller coin containing exactly half that amount. Half Sovereigns tend to cost more per gram to buy but provide more divisibility to a coin portfolio. A mix of both types of Sovereign is preferable for a balanced collection.

Gold Sovereign and Half Sovereign difference

Many features are identical like the 22 carat alloy mix and front and back design. A full Sovereign is about the size of a one pence piece and weighs 7.98g, while the half Sovereign is closer to the old half penny size and weighs 3.99g. Both have a face value, qualifying them as legal tender in the UK, with the larger coin featuring a £1 value, and the half Sovereign 50p. [/sub-accordion]

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