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 When gold coins were finally withdrawn from circulation in 1933 in the US, many thousands of British gold sovereigns were consigned to the melting pot in this way.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 NameReverseObverseDetails
Sovereign 1898 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1898 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1898 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Melbourne Mint: 5,509,138
- Royal Mint London: 4,361,347
- Sydney Mint: 2,548,000
Total Mintage: 12,418,485
Sovereign 1899 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1899 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1899 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Royal Mint London: 7,515,978
- Melbourne Mint: 5,579,157
- Sydney Mint: 3,259,000
- Perth Mint: 690,992
Total Mintage: 17,045,127
Sovereign 1900 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1900 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1900 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Royal Mint London: 10,846,741
- Melbourne Mint: 4,305,904
- Sydney Mint: 3,586,000
- Perth Mint: 1,866,089
Total Mintage: 20,604,734
Sovereign 1901 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1901 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1901 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Melbourne Mint: 3,987,701
- Sydney Mint: 3,012,000
- Perth Mint: 2,889,333
- Royal Mint London: 1,578,948
Total Mintage: 11,467,982
Sovereign 1902 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1902 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1902 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Royal Mint London: 4,752,919
- Perth Mint: 4,289,122
- Melbourne Mint: 4,267,157
- Sydney Mint: 2,813,000
Total Mintage: 16,122,198
Sovereign 1903 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1903 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1903 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Royal Mint London: 8,888,627
- Perth Mint: 4,674,783
- Melbourne Mint: 3,521,780
- Sydney Mint: 2,806,000
Total Mintage: 19,891,190
Sovereign 1904 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1904 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1904 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Royal Mint London: 10,041,369
- Perth Mint: 4,506,756
- Melbourne Mint: 3,743,897
- Sydney Mint: 2,986,000
Total Mintage: 21,278,022
Sovereign 1905 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1905 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1905 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Royal Mint London: 5,910,403
- Perth Mint: 4,876,193
- Melbourne Mint: 3,633,838
- Sydney Mint: 2,778,000
Total Mintage: 17,198,434
Sovereign 1906 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1906 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1906 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Royal Mint London: 10,466,981
- Perth Mint: 4,829,817
- Melbourne Mint: 3,657,853
- Sydney Mint: 2,792,000
Total Mintage: 21,746,651
Sovereign 1907 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1907 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1907 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Royal Mint London: 18,458,663
- Perth Mint: 4,972,289
- Melbourne Mint: 3,332,691
- Sydney Mint: 2,539,000
Total Mintage: 29,302,643
Sovereign 1908 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1908 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1908 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Royal Mint London: 11,729,006
- Perth Mint: 4,875,617
- Melbourne Mint: 3,080,148
- Sydney Mint: 2,017,000
- Royal Mint Ottawa: 636
Total Mintage: 21,702,207
Sovereign 1909 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1909 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1909 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Royal Mint London: 12,157,099
- Perth Mint: 4,524,241
- Melbourne Mint: 3,029,538
- Sydney Mint: 2,057,000
- Royal Mint Ottawa: 16,273
Total Mintage: 21,784,151
Sovereign 1910 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1910 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1910 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Royal Mint London: 22,379,624
- Perth Mint: 4,690,625
- Melbourne Mint: 3,054,547
- Sydney Mint: 2,135,000
- Royal Mint Ottawa: 28,012
Total Mintage: 32,287,808
Sovereign 1911 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1911 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1911 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Royal Mint London: 30,047,869
- Perth Mint: 4,373,165
- Melbourne Mint: 2,851,451
- Sydney Mint: 2,519,000
- Royal Mint Ottawa: 256,946
Total Mintage: 40,048,431
Sovereign 1912 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1912 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1912 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Royal Mint London: 30,317,921
- Perth Mint: 4,278,144
- Melbourne Mint: 2,469,257
- Sydney Mint: 2,227,000
Total Mintage: 39,292,322
Sovereign 1913 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1913 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1913 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Royal Mint London: 24,539,672
- Perth Mint: 4,635,287
- Melbourne Mint: 2,323,180
- Sydney Mint: 2,249,000
- Royal Mint Ottawa: 3,715
Total Mintage: 33,750,854
Sovereign 1914 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1914 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1914 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Royal Mint London: 11,501,117
- Perth Mint: 4,815,996
- Melbourne Mint: 2,012,029
- Sydney Mint: 1,774,000
- Royal Mint Ottawa: 14,891
Total Mintage: 20,118,033
Sovereign 1915 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1915 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1915 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Royal Mint London: 20,295,280
- Perth Mint: 4,373,596
- Melbourne Mint: 1,637,839
- Sydney Mint: 1,346,000
Total Mintage: 27,652,715
Sovereign 1916 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1916 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1916 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Perth Mint: 4,096,771
- Royal Mint London: 1,554,120
- Melbourne Mint: 1,272,634
- Sydney Mint: 1,242,000
- Royal Mint Ottawa: 6,111
Total Mintage: 8,171,636
Sovereign 1917 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1917 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1917 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Perth Mint: 4,110,286
- Sydney Mint: 1,666,000
- Royal Mint London: 1,014,714
- Melbourne Mint: 934,469
- Royal Mint Ottawa: 15,845
Total Mintage: 7,741,314
Sovereign 1918 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1918 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1918 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Melbourne Mint: 4,969,493
- Perth Mint: 3,812,884
- Sydney Mint: 3,716,000
- Bombay Mint: 1,295,372
- Royal Mint Ottawa: 106,516
Total Mintage: 13,900,265
Sovereign 1919 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1919 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1919 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Perth Mint: 2,995,216
- Sydney Mint: 1,835,000
- Melbourne Mint: 514,257
- Royal Mint Ottawa: 135,889
Total Mintage: 5,480,498
Sovereign 1920 Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Perth Mint: 2,421,196
- Melbourne Mint: 530,000
- Sydney Mint: 360,000
Total Mintage: 3,311,196
Sovereign 1921 Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Perth Mint: 2,314,360
- Sydney Mint: 839,000
- Melbourne Mint: 240,121
Total Mintage: 3,339,481
Sovereign 1922 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1922 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1922 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Perth Mint: 2,298,884
- Melbourne Mint: 608,306
- Sydney Mint: 578,000
Total Mintage: 3,485,190
Sovereign 1923 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1923 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1923 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Perth Mint: 2,124,154
- Melbourne Mint: 510,870
- Sydney Mint: 416,000
- Pretoria Mint: 719
Total Mintage: 3,051,743
Sovereign 1924 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1924 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1924 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Perth Mint: 1,464,416
- Sydney Mint: 394,000
- Melbourne Mint: 278,140
- Pretoria Mint: 3,184
Total Mintage: 2,139,740
Sovereign 1925 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1925 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1925 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Pretoria Mint: 6,086,264
- Sydney Mint: 5,632,000
- Royal Mint London: 4,406,431
- Melbourne Mint: 3,313,662
- Perth Mint: 1,837,901
Total Mintage: 21,276,258
Sovereign 1926 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1926 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1926 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Pretoria Mint: 11,107,611
- Perth Mint: 1,313,578
- Sydney Mint: 1,031,050
- Melbourne Mint: 211,107
Total Mintage: 13,663,346
Sovereign 1927 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1927 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1927 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Pretoria Mint: 16,379,704
- Perth Mint: 1,383,544
- Melbourne Mint: 310,156
Total Mintage: 18,073,404
Sovereign 1928 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1928 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1928 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Pretoria Mint: 18,235,057
- Perth Mint: 1,333,417
- Melbourne Mint: 413,208
Total Mintage: 19,981,682
Sovereign 1929 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1929 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1929 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Pretoria Mint: 12,024,107
- Perth Mint: 1,606,625
- Melbourne Mint: 436,719
Total Mintage: 14,067,451
Sovereign 1930 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1930 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1930 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Pretoria Mint: 10,027,756
- Perth Mint: 1,915,352
- Melbourne Mint: 77,574
Total Mintage: 12,020,682
Sovereign 1931 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1931 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1931 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mints:
- Pretoria Mint: 8,511,792
- Perth Mint: 1,173,568
- Melbourne Mint: 57,779
Total Mintage: 9,743,139
Sovereign 1932 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1932 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1932 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mint: Pretoria Mint
Mintage: 1,066,680
Sovereign 1937 Edward VIII (not released) Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mint: Royal Mint
Mintage: 6
Sovereign 1937 (Proof only) United Kingdom / Sovereign 1937 (Proof only) - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1937 (Proof only) - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mint: Royal Mint
Mintage: 5,501
Sovereign 1953 (not released) Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mint: Royal Mint
Mintage: unknown
Sovereign 1957 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1957 - reverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mint: Royal Mint
Mintage: 2,072,000
Sovereign 1958 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1958 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1958 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mint: Royal Mint
Mintage: 8,700,000
Sovereign 1959 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1959 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1959 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mint: Royal Mint
Mintage: 1,385,228
Sovereign 1962 Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mint: Royal Mint
Mintage: 3,000,000
Sovereign 1963 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1963 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1963 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mint: Royal Mint
Mintage: 7,400,000
Sovereign 1964 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1964 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1964 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mint: Royal Mint
Mintage: 3,000,000
Sovereign 1965 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1965 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1965 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mint: Royal Mint
Mintage: 3,800,000
Sovereign 1966 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1966 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1966 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mint: Royal Mint
Mintage: 7,050,000
Sovereign 1967 United Kingdom / Sovereign 1967 - reverse photo United Kingdom / Sovereign 1967 - obverse photo Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mint: Royal Mint
Mintage: 5,000,000
Sovereign 1968 Material: 0.9167 Gold
Mint: Royal Mint
Mintage: 4,203,000
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