The gold sovereign is a gold coin of the United Kingdom. It has a nominal value of one pound sterling, but it is in practice regarded as a bullion coin. The British Royal Mint began striking new sovereigns in 1817.The gold content was fixed by the coin act of 1816 at 0.235420 troy ounces (7.322381 g).
This weight has remained practically unchanged to the present day: current sovereigns are struck in the same 22 carat (91⅔ per cent) crown gold alloy as the first modern sovereigns of 1817. Alloys are used to make gold coins that are legal tender more durable, so they can resist scratches and dents during circulation. The sovereign weighs 7.988052 g, it is 1.52 mm thick, and 22.05 mm in diameter.
The reverse of the coin features a shield and crown motif, supplemented with a heraldic wreath, was the initial type for British gold coins. It was succeeded by a picture of Saint George- the patron saint of England- killing the dragon, designed and engraved by Benedetto Pistrucci. This same design is still in use on British gold sovereigns, although other reverse designs have also been used during the reigns of William IV, Victoria, George IV, and Elizabeth II.
On the obverse side is the head portrait of British monarch reigning at the time the coin was minted. Sovereigns were minted in London (1817–1917, 1925, 1957 onwards), Melbourne (1872–1931, ‘M’ mintmark), Sydney (1855–1926, ‘S’ mintmark), Perth (1899–1931, ‘P’ mintmark), Bombay, India (1918 only, ‘I’ mintmark)), Ottawa, Canada (1908–1919, ‘C’ mintmark), and Pretoria, South Africa (1923–1932, ‘SA’ mintmark). Nowadays sovereigns are minted at the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Wales.Gold sovereigns were produced as bullion coins until 1982, and again since 2000. From 1983 to 1999 only proof coinage versions were produced.
British gold coins are mint****
With a long history as legal tender within the British Empire, and centuries of international trade transactions, the gold sovereign is a highly acknowledged coin, as well as a popular choice for coin collectors. The gold sovereign appears quite a small coin, but with a face value of £1 it had a purchasing power of £94.78 in 2011.
Sovereigns usually ensure a higher premium than some other bullion coins, such as the Krugerrand. This is due to the higher demand for the Sovereign from currency collectors (the Krugerrand is not sought-after numismatically), the higher unit cost of the Sovereign (weighing under one-quarter of an ounce), and the higher cost of identifying and stocking a numismatic coin.
It is estimated that there is an astounding number of fake sovereigns in the market, though experts say that these are easy to detect, as the design is difficult to copy. Traditional gold vendors claim that the genuine sovereigns have a particular ‘ring’ that makes them recognizable. Detection of counterfeit coins comes possible by comparing sovereigns you are considering with coins that are known to be genuine, either by visual inspection or by precise weighing and measurement against standard dimensions. If you do not wish to play ‘heads or tails’ with your purchase, your best choice would be to trust a legitimate dealer, like coininvest.com.