Victorian Gold Sovereign coins can make a wonderful gift or investment. With the price of gold moving steadily upwards over the years and money very tight for many of us, it could be time to dig out those coins we were handed down by our Grand Parents to raise some much needed funds. If you’re lucky enough to have been given the coins, you’ll see why Sovereigns are such as a good investment as the price has risen dramatically.
Underlying gold price
We always start deriving the value of a Victorian Gold Sovereign coin from the underlying gold price, known as the spot price. This price is generally quoted in various currencies in ounces and grammes and acts as a benchmark to value the various types of gold. The value of a Victorian Gold Sovereign will be at a premium or discount to this benchmark – with the first step being to multiply the ounce spot price by 0.2354 (which is the gold weight of a Sovereign coin in ounces).
What type of Victorian gold Sovereign coin do I have
It’s important to note that not all Victorian Sovereign coins are valued the same. 95% of them will likely fetch the same price regardless of the year of issue. However other factors to consider would be the condition of the coin, the year of issue and the rarity of the coin. For instance, there are 3 varieties of Victorian head available, each of which may attract different collectors or buyers (Young Head, Jubilee Head, Old Head).
Why does this matter?
With Victorian holding the record for longest British female monarch, up until recently when Queen Elizabeth took her crown (sorry!), the Sovereigns issued during her extensive reign were updated twice. Obviously the Young head portrait represents the early years of her reign when she was a young woman. Therefore they’re the oldest Victorian coins of the three and worth the most. Prices for young head coins can be around 15-20% than later portraits. These coins are also unique as the were produced in what’s called ‘coin allignment’ This means that the portrait side and reverse side are upside down to eachother.
How about the later versions?
The jubilee head was the next version to be launched and encompasses the middle period of Victoria’s resign, including her golden jubilee. This portrait only lasted for 7 years (compared to the Young Head’s 17 year stint) so naturally there were fewer coins minted. For this reason, you could argue that the Jubilee Head coin is rarer than the more expensive Young Head version. Perhaps this suggests that premiums on these could rise faster in the future. Certainly the value varies quite alot depending on general market supply. Sometimes, it trades at the same level as the newer Old Head coin, while other times it can command 5% iher prices than the Old Head. This coin also marked the very first Sovereign to be minted in ‘medal allignment’, whereby the obverse and reverse are printed the same way around. All Sovereign issues since have followed this format.
The Old Head Victorian coin, also known as the veiled head due to the portrait featuring the monarch wearing a veil rather than crown, is generally the least valuable of the three versions. It’s the most recent edition so has less history about it and there is plentiful supply. Generally we tend to see relatively stable premiums for these coins. Because of this, they can be a really good value way of adding Victorian Sovereigns to your gold investment collection without having to pay the high premiums of the rarer coins.
What else do I need to know?
Generally the second hand Sovereign market will provide a good price for Victorian Sovereigns as long as there isn’t visible damage to the coin or small pieces missing. Clearly a coin of over 100 years in age isn’t expected to be in pristine condition. You may want to check whether your Victorian coin falls into the 5% of Sovereigns worth significantly more than others. If your coin is a shield back, then this could instantly demand a premium over regular coins. Years of low print runs (and therefore rarity) will also command a further premium.
Of course, sometimes the devil is in the detail. If you look closely at Victorian Sovereigns even of the same year and portrait, they’re not necessarily idential or command the same price. Their worth can also vary due to mint marks. These can be difficult to see but basically, a letter will depict which mint the coin was produced in. The Young Head and Jubilee Sovereigns were minted amongst three different factories, namely – London, Melbourne and Sydney. The Old Head coin added Perth Mint to the production list. Interestingly, this reflected Britain’s growing empire, with the Sovereigns to follow in the Edwardian and Georgian eras, also being minted as far afield as Canada, South Africa and India.
How can I benefit?
Depending on which branch mint the coin was made, certain coins can be worth more, depending on the quanity produced by each mint. For instance while the various Australian mints produced Sovereign coins for between 30 and 50 years, Ottowa and Pretoria mints only produced for around a decade, with Bombay only minting during 1918!
Mint marks to loo out for are London (L), Sydney (S), Melbourne (M), Perth (P), Ottowa (C), Bombay (I) and Pretoria (SA).
Is my coin worth a premium or discount to the spot price?
If your coin is deemed to hold a numismatic value due to year of issue or design (a value over and above simply the gold content), then it will undoubtedly fetch a premium to the spot price, in some cases up to 75% more. Otherwise, the value of the coin will depend on who you eventually sell to, and the current state and volatility of the gold market.
Selling to ‘Cash For Gold’ sites or a jeweller will undoubtedly achieve the largest discount to the benchmark (lowest price) as these buyers will seek to melt down the gold and profit from your sale. However, this route may offer the convenience of simply dropping in the coin locally.
Selling to a collector may achieve a high premium as an individual may need your coin to complete a collection. However, you may be waiting years to find the ‘right’ collector and you also expose yourself to the danger of dealing with the public or small unknown intermediaries.
Selling to a gold dealer should achieve a value close to the spot price while offering both convenience and safety. These coins are tax free in the UK which means gold dealer’s specialising in gold investment have a great need for these coins. Indeed, at the moment supplies of second hand Sovereigns are particularly tight due to the demand for physical gold, meaning that the brand new gold Sovereign coins are better value than old ones.
If you were handed the coin many years ago, you may be delighted to know that a coin worth around £20 when it was given to you 10 years or more ago may be worth more than £200 now.