Sovereign (Pre-Decimal), Coin Type from United Kingdom - detailed information

Sovereign (Pre-Decimal), Coin Type from United Kingdom (issued 1817 - 1968)
Coin TypeSovereign (Pre-Decimal)

The sovereign is a gold coin of the United Kingdom, with a nominal value of one pound sterling. Prior to 1932 it was a fully circulating coin within Britain's then Gold Standard currency.

Sovereigns have been minted in the United Kingdom from 1817 to 1917, in 1925, and from 1957 to the present. In the past Australia, Canada, and South Africa all occasionally minted the coins.

In Victorian times it was the practice of the Bank of England to remove worn sovereigns and half sovereigns from circulation and to have them recoined. Consequently, although a billion sovereigns have been minted in total, that figure includes gold that has been coined and recoined a number of times. In addition, when coins were sent to places such as the United States for international payments between governments, they were frequently melted down into gold bars because of the Federal regulations then in force. When gold coins were finally withdrawn from circulation in 1933 in the US, many thousands of British gold sovereigns were consigned to the melting pot in this way.

It is estimated that in circulation a sovereign could have a lifespan of up to 15 years before it fell below the "least current weight", that is, the minimum amount of gold below which it ceased to be legal tender.

English law allows a sovereign to be legal tender so long as it weighs 7.93787 g (0.280000 oz), or more; and the difference between this and the full standard weight of 7.98805 g (0.281770 oz) (approx. 0.6%) represents the margin allowed for abrasion.

It was actually the half-sovereign that had the most circulation in Victorian Britain. Many sovereigns languished in bank vaults for most of their lives. In 1889 and 1890 Orders in Council were made permitting members of the general public to hand in any gold coins that were underweight and have them replaced by full-weight coins. A proclamation was subsequently issued in November 1890 that any gold coin struck before 1837 would cease to be legal tender with effect from 28 February 1891. This recycled gold was subsequently reminted into 13,680,486 half sovereigns in 1892 and 10,846,741 sovereigns in 1900. (Both figures are for the London branch of the Royal Mint.)

Sovereign obverse (heads) dies were also used in the nineteenth century to create farthings once they had become worn. (An obverse die could typically produce 100,000 coins.)

Composition: 0.9167 gold, 0.0833 copper.

Obverse

Effigy of the monarch, legend.

Obverse Inscription
Reverse

Reverse Inscription
EdgeMilledEdge InscriptionNone
Notes

If you keep your coins in 2x2 cardboard holders, the best size for one sovereign coins is 22.5mm.

References to additional information:

[Book] Marsh, Michael A., M.A. Marsh Publications 2002. The Gold Sovereign.

Coin Type: Sovereign (Pre-Decimal) - (148) Coins (Page 2 of 2)
Coin NameMintageEffigyLegend
Sovereign 1898 12,418,485 Queen Victoria - Veiled Head VICTORIA DEI . GRA . BRITT . REGINA . FID . DEF . IND . IMP
Sovereign 1899 17,045,127 Queen Victoria - Veiled Head VICTORIA DEI . GRA . BRITT . REGINA . FID . DEF . IND . IMP
Sovereign 1900 20,604,734 Queen Victoria - Veiled Head VICTORIA DEI . GRA . BRITT . REGINA . FID . DEF . IND . IMP
Sovereign 1901 11,467,982 Queen Victoria - Veiled Head VICTORIA DEI . GRA . BRITT . REGINA . FID . DEF . IND . IMP
Sovereign 1902 16,122,198 King Edward VII - Bare Head EDWARDVS VII D:G: BRITT: OMN: REX F: D: IND: IMP:
Sovereign 1903 19,891,190 King Edward VII - Bare Head EDWARDVS VII D:G: BRITT. OMN: REX F: D: IND: IMP:
Sovereign 1904 21,278,022 King Edward VII - Bare Head EDWARDVS VII D:G: BRITT. OMN: REX F: D: IND: IMP:
Sovereign 1905 17,198,434 King Edward VII - Bare Head EDWARDVS VII D:G: BRITT. OMN: REX F: D: IND: IMP:
Sovereign 1906 21,746,651 King Edward VII - Bare Head EDWARDVS VII D:G: BRITT. OMN: REX F: D: IND: IMP:
Sovereign 1907 29,302,643 King Edward VII - Bare Head EDWARDVS VII D:G: BRITT. OMN: REX F: D: IND: IMP:
Sovereign 1908 21,702,207 King Edward VII - Bare Head EDWARDVS VII D:G: BRITT: OMN: REX F:D: IND: IMP:
Sovereign 1909 21,784,151 King Edward VII - Bare Head EDWARDVS VII D:G: BRITT. OMN: REX F: D: IND: IMP:
Sovereign 1910 32,287,808 King Edward VII - Bare Head EDWARDVS VII D:G: BRITT. OMN: REX F: D: IND: IMP:
Sovereign 1911 40,048,431 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V D. G. BRITT: OMN: REX F. D. IND: IMP:
Sovereign 1912 39,292,322 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V D.G.BRITT: OMN: REX F.D.IND:IMP:
Sovereign 1913 33,750,854 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V D.G.BRITT: OMN: REX F.D.IND:IMP:
Sovereign 1914 20,118,033 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V D.G.BRITT: OMN: REX F.D.IND:IMP:
Sovereign 1915 27,652,715 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V D.G.BRITT: OMN: REX F.D.IND:IMP:
Sovereign 1916 8,171,636 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V D.G.BRITT: OMN: REX F.D.IND:IMP:
Sovereign 1917 7,741,314 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V D.G.BRITT: OMN: REX F.D.IND:IMP:
Sovereign 1918 13,900,265 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V D.G.BRITT: OMN: REX F.D.IND:IMP:
Sovereign 1919 5,480,498 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V D.G.BRITT: OMN: REX F.D.IND:IMP:
Sovereign 1920 3,311,196 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V D.G.BRITT: OMN: REX F.D.IND:IMP:
Sovereign 1921 3,339,481 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V D.G.BRITT: OMN: REX F.D.IND:IMP:
Sovereign 1922 3,485,190 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V D.G.BRITT: OMN: REX F.D.IND:IMP:
Sovereign 1923 3,051,743 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V D.G.BRITT: OMN: REX F.D.IND:IMP:
Sovereign 1924 2,139,740 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V D.G.BRITT: OMN: REX F.D.IND:IMP:
Sovereign 1925 21,276,258 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V D.G.BRITT: OMN: REX F.D.IND:IMP:
Sovereign 1926 13,663,346 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V D.G.BRITT: OMN: REX F.D.IND:IMP:
Sovereign 1927 18,073,404 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V D.G.BRITT: OMN: REX F.D.IND:IMP:
Sovereign 1928 19,981,682 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V D.G.BRITT: OMN: REX F.D.IND:IMP:
Sovereign 1929 14,067,451 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V D.G.BRITT: OMN: REX F.D.IND:IMP:
Sovereign 1930 12,020,682 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V D.G.BRITT: OMN: REX F.D.IND:IMP:
Sovereign 1931 9,743,139 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V D.G.BRITT: OMN: REX F.D.IND:IMP:
Sovereign 1932 1,066,680 King George V - Bare Head GEORGIVS V D.G.BRITT: OMN: REX F.D.IND:IMP:
Sovereign 1937 Edward VIII (not released) 6 King Edward VIII - Bare Head EDWARDVS VIII D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Sovereign 1937 (Proof only) 5,501 King George VI - Bare Head GEORGIVS VI D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP.
Sovereign 1953 (not released) unknown Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait ELIZABETH II DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REGINA F: D: +
Sovereign 1957 2,072,000 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait ELIZABETH . II . DEI . GRATIA . REGINA . F: D: +
Sovereign 1958 8,700,000 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D : +
Sovereign 1959 1,385,228 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait ELIZABETH . II . DEI . GRATIA . REGINA . F: D: +
Sovereign 1962 3,000,000 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait ELIZABETH . II . DEI . GRATIA . REGINA . F: D: +
Sovereign 1963 7,400,000 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait ELIZABETH . II . DEI . GRATIA . REGINA . F: D: +
Sovereign 1964 3,000,000 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait ELIZABETH . II . DEI . GRATIA . REGINA . F: D: +
Sovereign 1965 3,800,000 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait ELIZABETH . II . DEI . GRATIA . REGINA . F: D: +
Sovereign 1966 7,050,000 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait ELIZABETH . II . DEI . GRATIA . REGINA . F: D: +
Sovereign 1967 5,000,000 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait ELIZABETH . II . DEI . GRATIA . REGINA . F: D: +
Sovereign 1968 4,203,000 Queen Elizabeth II - First Portrait ELIZABETH . II . DEI . GRATIA . REGINA . F: D: +
Showing 101 to 148 of 148 Coins.
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Sovereign (Pre-Decimal): Details
CountryUnited Kingdom
CurrencyPound Sterling (pre-decimal)
Sub-types Sovereign (pre-Victorian)
Sovereign (Shield)
Sovereign (St George)
From1817
To1968
Face Value1 (x Pound)
CurrentNo (demonetised 1971)
Material0.9167 Gold
Designer
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
Size22.050 mm
Thickness1.520 mm
Mass7.988 g
Sovereign (Pre-Decimal): Photos
ImageDetails
Coin - Sovereign, George III, Great Britain, 1820
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Notes: St George, within garter (1817 - 1825).
Source
Proof Coin - Sovereign, William IV, Great Britain, 1831
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Source
Coin - Sovereign, Queen Victoria, Great Britain, 1843
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Notes: Crowned shield (1838 - 1887).
Source
Coin - Sovereign, Edward VII, Great Britain, 1902
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Notes: St George (modern) (1871 - 1968).
Source
Coin - Sovereign, George III, Great Britain, 1820
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Notes: King George III (1817 - 1820).
Source
Proof Coin - Sovereign, William IV, Great Britain, 1831
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Notes: King William IV (1830 - 1837).
Source
Coin - Sovereign, Queen Victoria, Great Britain, 1852
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Notes: Queen Victoria, "Young Head" portrait (1838 - 1887).
Source
Coin - Sovereign, Edward VII, Great Britain, 1902
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Notes: King Edward VII (1902 - 1910).
Source
Coin - Sovereign, Canada, 1918
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Notes: King George V (1911 - 1928).
Source
Proof Coin - Sovereign, Australia, 1930
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Notes: King George V, "small head" (1929 - 1932).
Source
Proof Coin - Sovereign, George VI, Great Britain, 1937
Copyright: Museums Victoria / CC BY
Author:
Notes: King George VI (1937).
Source