Mar 2012


Mar 2012

About the Gold Sovereign

By StoneX Bullion

Gold Sovereign Production

The Gold Sovereign, minted from 1817 by the United Kingdom, is a gold bullion coin that takes its name after the old English Gold Sovereign which was last minted in 1604. Therefore, the Gold Sovereign is considered to be the new sovereign with a fineness of 22K or 91.66% purity. The Sovereign Gold coins are minted by the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, Wales, a Mint protected by Ministry of Defence Police even though Mints are established all over the world in order to profit from the gold belonging to those areas, in cities like Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Bombay, Ottawa, and Pretoria.

Through the Coin Act of 1816, the Sovereign Gold coin’s gold content was fixed at 1320/5607 troy ounces meaning 7.322381 g which can also be expressed as the equivalent of 113 grains, a weight which remained constant until today. However, the mintage of the Sovereign was volatile. The Gold Sovereign was minted for 100 years from 1817 until 1917, then in 1925, and started being produced again from 1957.

The minted Gold Sovereign coins have different face values according to their weights: the Sovereign with a face value of 1 pound sterling, the ten-shilling half Sovereign, the two-pound double Sovereign, the five-pound quintuple Sovereign, and in 2009 the Royal Mint released a new coin – the quarter Sovereign whose design can be compared with that of the original gold English crown of the rose which was quite of a rare coin. From all these gold coins, only the Sovereign and the half Sovereign were intended for circulation. From 1957 Gold Sovereign coins have been minted only to meet the investors’ demand for bullion coins and to control forgeries.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Gold Sovereign

The first and the obvious advantage of the Gold Sovereign is the precious metal from which is made. Central banks invest in gold bullion bars and mainly in gold bullion coins like the Sovereign as a way to preserve the welfare of the countries they represent. Therefore, the Sovereign Gold coin has the advantage of being a coin with tradition and rich history, a much appreciated and loved coin by investors and collectors as well. The Sovereigns are also desired in the jewelry industry and also are often used as gifts for different occasions.

Another advantage of the Sovereign Gold coin is its popularity. Despite the fact that these bullion gold coins are being sold at prices with considerable premium for their rarity and grade over their intrinsic metal value, the Sovereigns remain coins bought for the pleasure of owning them and wearing them. The cost of identifying and storing a Gold Sovereign coin hasn’t stopped numismatists from manifesting a high demand for these traditional British coins. They are also regarded by investors as a safe place against economic volatility.

The Gold Sovereign has one notable disadvantage as a bullion gold coin: the bullion gold coins minted beginning with 1968 (the Kruggerand) have their gold content easier to be calculated since they contain one troy ounce or a simple fraction of an ounce.

Gold Sovereign Design

The year 2007 represented the year in which the Royal Mint took an interest in recreating the die of older Sovereigns, to bring to life details long faded as years passed. The consequence of this interest was that the Gold Sovereign coins emitted in 2007 had their reverse resemble to that of the 1818 silver crowns of George III. That meant a change in the horse’s tail, downsize of the B.P. initials, and a change in the ground’s left hand side. These all were possible thanks to combining engraving skills with digital technology.

The 2008 bullion issues of the Sovereign Gold coin depicted a modified horse musculature as an attempt to make the details clearer. These changes didn’t last for 2009, when the minted Gold Sovereign coins were produced with the help of 19th century tools.