The English Gold Sovereign was first introduced in England in 1489 at the time of King Hendrik VII. The name 'Sovereign' referred to the obverse of the first coins on which the king was seen, while sitting on the throne. On the revers side was the coat of arms of England and the distinctive rose of the House Tudor. Originally, the coin was minted in 23 carats gold and weighed 240 grains (64,80 mg), or 1/2 ounce, but King Hendrik VIII reduced the purity to 22 carats, thereby setting the standard for all subsequent English and British gold coins.
The original English Golden Sovereign was last struck in 1604. In 1817, after the Great Recoinage of 1816, the now British Golden Sovereign was reintroduced to restore the value of the British currency following the economic threats that the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars caused. The British Sovereign received the nominal value of 1 pound sterling and was struck untill the beginning of WW I. Britain, like France, was forced to abandon the gold standard of the Latin currency union by the outbreak of war.
Although the British Sovereign was taken out of circulation in 1914, and since then banknotes became the usual means of payment, the British Royal Mint continued to strike the coin until 1917. Thereafter, the coin was only struck in daughter-minthouses in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Bombay, Ottawa and Pretoria, with an exception in 1925 when the British Sovereign was struck by the Royal Mint for a year, as an attempt by Winston Churchill to return the British currency to the gold standard.
Eventually, the last British Sovereign was struck in 1932 in Pretoria. Until 1957, when the production of the Golden Sovereign Coins - although only as an investment currency - was resumed. In total, the golden British sovereign was struck under the reign of 5 kings and 2 queens; In chronological order King George III, King George IV, King William IV, Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, George V and Elizabeth II.
At Argentor you can go for British Sovereigns of both Victoria, Edward VII, George V and Elizabeth II.
The golden British Sovereign has a purity of 916,7/1.000 (22 carats) and a net weight of 7,32 grams. The remaining 0,67 grams consist of copper which causes the coin to become damaged less quickly, necessary to withstand the wear by regular circulation.
This typical alloy of 91,67% gold and 8,33% copper was also introduced in the United Kingdom as "crown gold" and would later be taken over by several nations of the Commonwealth of Nations and other powers.
Design of the golden pound - Sovereign
Some of the gold and British pounds have been struck by several different versions. Since we mainly sell coins of Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, King George V and Queen Elizabeth II, we only discuss the design of those coins. On the front of the coins is always the image of the British king or queen; In chronological order Victoria, Edward VII, George V and Elizabeth II.
On the backside, the first coins still featured the British coat of arms with crown, surrounded by a laurel wreath. Alongside this wreath is the text 'Britanniarum Regina Fid: Def.' (= Queen of the British Empire, Defendant of Faith). Between the wreath and the Tudor rose, depending on where the coin was struck, a coin mark or a stamp number was displayed.
In later coins, on the backside, a picture of the legend of Saint Joris and the dragon - referring to the victory of Great Britain on Napoleon during the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 - by designer Benedetto Pistrucci. At the bottom of the coins, the year of issue, the designer's initials and, depending on where the coin is struck, may or may not be a coin sign. Also that coin sign can be hardly seen with naked eye (just like the designer's initials at the bottom right); With a magnifying glass you can find it just above the year of issue, in the bottom of the image.
Victoria | 1838 - 1901
There are a total of three different portraits used of Victoria ; One of her as an 18-year-old girl (struckfrom 1838 to 1887), one of her as mourning widow during her golden anniversary (struck from 1887 to 1893) and finally as a later-aged queen (struck from 1893 to 1901) .
On her first coins as a young girl, you see the text "Victoria Dei Gratia" around her head, which means "Victoria by God's grace". Sealed from the year of issue and the designer's initials: William Wyon, beneath the neck. On later coins with the same portrait, the text was adapted to Victoria D: G: Brittaniar: Reg: F: D :, Which means: "Victoria by God's grace, queen of the British empire, defender of faith".
The letter below the portrait indicates the place where the coin was struck: 'S' for Sydney, 'M' for Melbourne and 'P' for Perth. For the Royal Mint in London virtually no coin sign was used.
Edward VII | 1902 - 1910
On the front you will see King Edward VII's portrait, looking to the right, to a design by George William De Saulles. At the bottom of Edward's neck you will be able to find his initials. Around the coin is 'Edward VII VII: G: Britt: Omn: Rex: F: D: Ind: Imp:', which means "Edward VII, King of All British Regions, Defender of Faith, Emperor of India."
The coin side design remained unchanged. From 1908 there were also golden Sovereigns struck in Ottawa, referred to as the letter 'C'.
George V | 1911 - 1932
On the front of the coin you see the portrait of King George V, looking to the left, to a portrait of Edgar Bertram Mackennal. At the bottom of Edward's neck you will be able to find his initials. Around the coin is written: "Georgius V D: G: Britt: Omn: Rex: F: D: Ind: Imp:" 'Which means: "George V, King of all British territories, protector of faith, Emperor of India".
From 1929 the design was adapted to a slightly smaller version and a double edge was provided around the coin. On the backside you still see the image of Joris and the Dragon.
Elizabeth II | 1957 - present day
Also often called the "new pound". Of the Elizabeth II coin are also several versions struck, most of which is the first edition. On that coin we see the portrait of Elizabeth, as a young girl, looking to the right. Around the coin is 'Elizabeth II "Dei Gratia Regina F: D:" which means: 'Elizabeth II by God's grace, queen, defender of faith.'
The design of the reverse side was, as good practise, the image of Saint Joris who defeats the dragon. From 1974, the design of both the head and coin sides of the coin has been modified a number of times.
Coins from that period are rarely available in stock at Argentor.
Buying a golden pound - Sovereign
The golden pound - Sovereign and other gold coins can serve as a purchase of physical gold. Gold coins are not taxed because they are considered monetary gold. And while all the gold coins offered by Argentor have been tested for authenticity, they are not delivered with a certificate of authenticity. That, unlike gold bars.
Because golden pounds coins are no longer minted, we depend on the amount of coins we can buy over the counter or from other traders for our stock. Therefore, please contact us before you placing an order > 25 coins through the webshop.
Selling a golden pound - Sovereign
You are more than welcome in our office to sell your golden British pound - Sovereign coin(s). You needn't make an appointment to do so.
Our buying prices are adapted every minute to the actuel gold rate and will only be hedged once you present the coin(s) at the counter in our office. You can easily check our live buying prices on this page.