One of the most popular coins that collectors like to get their hands on today is the British gold sovereign. Their history goes back more than five hundred years, and they are still produced to this day.
This attractive coin was first minted in 1489 under command of King Henry VII. At first, these coins contained 96% pure gold, but under Henry VIII, this was reduced to 92%: still an excellent percentage when you consider that 18 karat gold today contains 75% gold.
As time went on, the weight of the coin was reduced to a quarter of a Troy ounce. When this currency was used to pay international debts, British Sovereigns were melted down in order to recover their gold value, thus the coins themselves are much rarer than one would expect.
At several points in history, sovereigns were replaced by other coins such as the guinea or were discontinued altogether. A significant volume of worn sovereigns was reminted into new sovereigns, so that the record of sovereigns produced far exceeds the number in circulation.
In fact, the total of surviving British sovereigns in mint condition is said to be no more than 1% of the total produced thanks to re-minting and melting down for bullion in foreign countries. It’s small wonder that these coins have become collector’s favorites among enthusiasts all over the world.
Their history, from the fifteenth century to the present day enthralls collectors. As recently as the second-world-war, pilots carried Sovereigns as currency in the event that they should crash behind enemy lines. Sovereigns from this period are considered particularly valuable thanks to this historic background. Owing to its popularity this coin is considered to be the flagship coin of the Royal Mint.
The peak of its popularity occurred in the late eighteen hundreds an early nineteen hundreds. Despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of coins were struck, only a few survive in mint condition, and these are ten times more valuable than their intrinsic gold value. Statistics show a steady rise in their value: investors and collectors need not be disappointed!
Because of the soft alloy, the weight of the gold sovereign would decrease with use until it fell below the weight required for it to be legal tender. This is why the Bank of England constantly sent old sovereigns off for re-minting so that the record of sovereigns produced no longer matches the number in circulation
Mass production of sovereigns ended with World War I when England abandoned the gold standard. The last sovereigns (apart from a short flurry introduced by Winston Churchill) were produced within the commonwealth outside of the UK. The last sovereign to be minted as regular currency was produced at Pretoria, South Africa in 1932.
Thereafter, the sovereign enjoyed a revival as bullion from 1957 until 1982. After a brief hiatus, production of sovereigns began again in 2000 and has continued ever since. The fantastic history of this coin adds to its worth and value.
Early sovereigns not only sported the image of the current monarch (sovereign) but the obverse side of the coin depicted a shield on a double Tudor rose. The industrial revolution brought changes to the mint and its coins, and in 1816, the Tudor rose and shield were replaced by St George slaying the dragon. Coins from this year are particularly valuable to collectors. For Queen Elizabeth’s golden jubilee in 2002, the coin was once again struck with a shield on the reverse before returning to the St George and the Dragon motif. As a result, 2002 coins are already highly valued, and their value can only increase from here on wards.
The British sovereign is not only a gold coin, but a gold coin that represents a major influence on the history of the world. From colonialism to independence, the British Sovereign has remained a symbol of wealth and prosperity and continues to do so to this day. That’s why coin collectors all over the world cherish their gold sovereigns: it’s more than just the intrinsic value of a gold coin, it’s the story they have to tell and the history behind the empire that made them that gives them their real value.
Filed Under: Buy British Sovereign Today