How big is a gold Sovereign
Many people would expect a coin worth around £400 to be large and heavy. But with gold’s high value, the gold Sovereign coin is a relatively diminutive gold coin. It weighs just under a quarter of the weight of the well-known 1oz gold bullion coins such as the Britannia and Krugerrand.
Gold Sovereign dimensions
The standard gold Sovereign measures 22.5mm in diameter and is 1.52mm thick. As the coins age and are handled, it’s common for older coins to show signs of slight wear so that their depth is less than 1.5mm.
Various Sovereign denomination sizes
While the standard Gold Sovereign is the best-known and most common version, there are also 4 other Sovereign denominations, each with varying measurements.
The regular Sovereign sits in the middle of the scale, with two of the coins smaller and two larger. But the coins don’t directly scale up and down in size.
The smallest Sovereign of all is the Quarter Sovereign, which measures a tiny 13.5mm in diameter and around 1mm in thickness. Next up is the Half Sovereign, with a diameter of 19.33mm and depth of 1.02mm.
Larger Sovereign sizes
The Double Sovereign (or Gold £2 as it’s also known), has a size of 28.4mm in diameter and 2mm in thickness.
Finally in the line-up, the biggest Sovereign of all is the Quintuple Sovereign (or Gold £5 coin. The Quintuple Sovereign measures a hefty 38.61mm in diameter and 3mm in thickness.
It’s important to note that many commemorative Double and Quintuple Sovereigns have been produced over the years which feature differing dimensions. While all £5 gold coins will weigh the same and contain the same gold content, some special edition versions will have larger diameters but are thinner.
Sovereign size and weight chart
All sizes and weights can vary slightly depending on the amount of wear and special editions
How do I know which Sovereign I have?
With five different Sovereign sizes, many inheritors of gold coins are unsure which ones they own.
It can be very difficult to determine by eye which ones you have and we see most confusion between the Full Sovereign and Half Sovereign versions.
As a size comparison, the Full Sovereign is very similar in scale to the common one pence piece.
The Sovereign is very slightly larger in diameter, measuring 22.5mm versus the penny’s 20.3mm. However the Copper One Pence is slightly thicker than the Sovereign, coming in at 1.65mm in depth versus 1.52mm.
As a comparison the now redundant Half Penny had a diameter of 17.14mm and a 1mm thickness.
The 7 Crucial Considerations Before You Buy Sovereigns
Sovereign face value
The classic Sovereign features a face value of £1, with the fractional versions having logically smaller face values and the larger versions containing bigger values.
Face value of a Sovereign is £1, the Half Sovereign 50p and the Quarter Sovereign 25p. The larger coins have face values of £2 for the Double Sovereign and £5 for the biggest Quintuple Sovereign.
These implied face values aren’t printed on the coins through, so unfortunately can’t act as a guide to which size Sovereign you have. The real benefit of the face value is that it qualifies all Sovereigns as legal tender in the UK and thus any profit made from buying and selling the coins is tax free for UK residents.
Probably the best starting point to determine the identity of your Sovereign is to weigh it.
This may prove slightly inaccurate on basic kitchen scales due to the sensitivity required for small weights. So don’t assume your coin isn’t genuine if the weight isn’t exactly as below. It’s not unknown for Sovereigns to weigh less as they get older and wear.
The total weight of a new Gold Sovereign is 7.98805 grams. Most websites and dealers will round this to 7.98g for ease. As a 22-carat coin, this weight isn’t all gold. This equates to around 91.67% pure gold with the rest being made up of copper and sometimes some silver. It’s this mix which gives the Sovereign it’s more reddish hues, rather than the yellow tones of a 24-carat coin. 22-carat coins are recognised as being more resilient to wear and scratches than pure gold coins.
The pure gold weight of a Sovereign is therefore 7.3224 grams. It’s this weight which will be the basis to calculate the coin’s price rather than the total weight.