Sovereign Coins

Perfect for first-time buyers and experienced traders alike

THE HISTORY OF SOVEREIGN COINS

The sovereign is a gold coin of the United Kingdom, with a nominal value of one pound sterling. Struck from 1817 until the present time, it was originally a circulating coin accepted in Britain and elsewhere in the world; it is now a bullion coin and is sometimes mounted in jewellery. In most recent years, it has borne the design of Saint George and the Dragon on the reverse; the initials (B P) of the designer, Benedetto Pistrucci, are visible to the right of the date.

From 1979, the sovereign was issued as a coin for the bullion market, but was also struck by the Royal Mint in proof condition for collectors, and this issuance of proof coins has continued annually.

In 1985, the Machin portrait of the Queen was replaced by one by Raphael Maklouf. Striking of bullion sovereigns had been suspended after 1982, and so the Maklouf portrait, struck every year but 1989 until the end of 1997, is seen on the sovereign only in proof condition. In 1989, a commemorative sovereign, the first, was issued for the 500th anniversary of Henry VII's sovereign. The coin, designed by Bernard Sindall, evokes the designs of that earlier piece, showing the Queen enthroned and facing front, as Henry appeared on the old English sovereign. The reverse of the 1489 piece depicts a double Tudor rose fronted by the royal arms; a similar design with updated arms graces the reverse of the 1989 sovereign.

Ian Rank-Broadley designed the fourth bust of the Queen to be used on the sovereign, and this went into use in 1998 and was used until 2015. Bullion sovereigns began to be issued again in 2000, and this has continued. A special reverse design was used in 2002 for the Golden Jubilee, with an adaptation of the royal arms on a shield by Timothy Noad recalling the 19th-century "shield back" sovereigns. The years 2005 and 2012 (the latter, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee) saw interpretations of the George and Dragon design, the first by Noad, the later by Paul Day. In 2009, the reverse was re-engraved using tools from the reign of George III in the hope of better capturing Pistrucci's design. A new portrait of the Queen by Jody Clark was introduced during 2015, and some sovereigns were issued with the new bust.

The most recent special designs, in 2016 and 2017, were only for collectors. The 2016 collector's piece, for the Queen's 90th birthday, has a one-year-only portrait of her on the obverse designed by James Butler. The 2017 collector's piece returned to Pistrucci's original design of 1817 for the modern sovereign's 200th birthday, with the Garter belt and motto. A piedfort was also minted, and the bullion sovereign struck at Llantrisant, though retaining the customary design, was given a privy mark with the number 200.

In 2017, a collection of 633 gold sovereigns and 280 half sovereigns was discovered to have been hoarded inside an upright piano which had been donated to a community college in Shropshire, England. The coins, which date from 1847 to 1915, were found by a technician who had been asked to tune the piano, 'stitched into seven cloth packets and a leather drawstring purse' under the piano's keyboard. Despite inquiries being made as to who could have stored the coins, no owner or claimants were found.

THE STORY OF SOVEREIGN COINS

VALUE OF SOVEREIGN COINS

Although Sovereign Coins are not made entirely out of gold, which is why there are different prices; you should be aware of the fact that irrespective of the type, every Gold Sovereign coin has quite a worth.

As the price of gold rises, so does a proportional increase in the value of a Gold Sovereign. Gold Sovereigns can be found in several denominations, and each comes with a relative nominal value.

The bullion value of a gold Sovereign is calculated at 7.31 x the price per gram of the prevailing gold price. It can also be calculated at 0.235 x the gold price per troy ounce. The value of a Sovereign is dependent on a number of factors namely;

● The year it was minted,
● Which branch mint produced it,
● The total number of Sovereigns produced at that mint for that year or the total number remaining,
● Whether it was a bullion or proof issue coin,
● The condition of the coin.

The fact that sovereigns are considered semi-numismatic coins (an interesting point for coin collectors) of course means that certain sovereigns of a given year are worth even more than their value in precious metals. The demand of these sovereigns is greatly increased by certain factors such as the scarcity, specific design or by the sovereign or mint branch in which they were produced.

Older Sovereign Coins tend to earn more value in good condition and thus tend to receive a premium from collectors. Collections can also be done in sets, for example by date, ruler, size or country of origin. Since sovereigns were invented for a long time in different places, the anomalies are numerous, an example of which includes identifying letters for several mints, coins with imperfections, and unique design.

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