The British Sovereign is among the most historically significant gold coins on the market.

Dating back to the late fifteenth century and the reign of Henry VII, Sovereigns served as an official form of currency until Great Britain abandoned the gold standard during World War I.

Today, Sovereigns are produced solely as bullion and collection coins — known the world over for their historic relevance and gold purity.

Continue reading for some quick facts, investment insight and a brief history of British Sovereign gold bullion coins.

British Sovereign Gold Bullion Coin Quick Facts and Brief History

Type Bullion (Investment), Numismatic (Collectors)
Mintage Ongoing by the Royal Mint (United Kingdom), but historically by mints in Australia, India and Canada as well
Weights / Denominations .2354 Troy Ounces (pure gold) per 1 Pound Sterling (face value)
Front Design British Sovereigns come in several designs. The front (obverse) design includes a bust of the current reigning King/Queen or sovereign (hence the name). The front of the current issue features Queen Elizabeth II. In past centuries, the obverse design included a bust of Kings Edward VII and George V, as well as Queens Victoria and Elizabeth II. Regardless of the reigning King or Queen, the bust image on the coin is surrounded by the Sovereign's name, followed by the words D.G.BRITT: OMN: REX F.D. IND: IMP:
Rear Design Like the obverse design, the British Sovereign's reverse has changed over the centuries. Yet it has remained the same since production resumed in 1817 after a 200-year hiatus. The current design by engraver Benedetto Pistrucci features a portrayal of St. George killing a dragon. The year of mintage can be found below the engraving.
Brief History British Sovereigns are among the oldest gold coins still produced to this day. King Henry VII (1485-1509) is credited with minting the first British Sovereigns, worth 20 shillings. Production was suspended in 1604 by James I, but resumed more than 200 years later by George III in 1817. The gold content was fixed at 0.235420 troy ounces by the Coin Act of 1816, where it remains today. In addition to Great Britain, other nations in the former British Empire — namely Australia, India and Canada — have minted their own Sovereigns. While most of these have been consistent, some bear unique designs.
Why Buy? Gold coins like the British Sovereign represent true wealth. The value of the gold content in these coins — or any gold coin for that matter — remains constant, growing over time. Not only are British Sovereigns valuable thanks to their gold, they are among the most recognized gold coin in the world. British Sovereigns provide protection against currency devaluation (i.e. inflation), along with an added premium due to their historic nature.
Gold Bullion Content 0.2354 Troy Ounces
Other Specifications

British Sovereign Gold Coin

  • Diameter = 22.05 mm (0.87 in.)
  • Thickness = 1.52 mm (0.060 in.)
  • Gross Weight = 7.98805 grams (established by the Coin Act of 1971)
  • Fineness = 22 carat
  • Gold Content = 7.322 grams (0.2354 troy ounces or 113.0016 grains)

Though British Sovereign gold coins are produced to this day, many Sovereigns available on the market were minted decades, even centuries, ago.

Now that you’re ready to purchase a British Sovereign, it’s important to determine your personal motivations for investing in gold. If you’re looking for a fantastic collector’s item, British Sovereigns are a great fit. If you’re interested in an investment in precious metal, you can avoid collectors-piece premiums by choosing a recent mint.

To learn more about investing in gold, take a minute to visit our Knowledge Center and blog.

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