The Sovereign is without rival as the United Kingdom’s premier Gold Coin, with rich history dating back well over 500 years. It epitomises all that is British.
Traded across the world during the 19th Century and early 20th Century, it became known as “The Chief Coin of the World”, whilst today’s modern Proof Sovereigns show consistent collector interest and regular sell-outs.
But with so many Sovereigns issued, what makes one more collectable than another?
Would you look for the coins that had the lowest final mintages? A low edition limit is usually a key driver for collectability, but edition limit and final mintage don’t necessarily go hand in hand.
Let me explain what I mean in a graph.
This graph shows you the final mintage figures for UK Gold Proof Sovereigns since the special 500th anniversary commemorative release in 1989 all the way through to last year’s issue.
As you can see the final mintages vary considerably.
What’s the most collectable Sovereign? The 2014 issue because it has the lowest mintage at just 4,613? Its edition limit was 7,500 individually with a further 3,500 available in sets though.
So less than half of the coins available to be struck were actually required. It wasn’t a hugely popular Sovereign at the time, which has resulted in it being very scarce today.
The 2017 Proof Sovereign has a far higher mintage at 13,500 – almost three times that of the 2014 Sovereign, but it is far more collectable.
That’s because the entire mintage was required. In fact, this was a coin that sold out its entire mintage within 30 days of launch because of its significance as the bicentenary of the modern Sovereign issue.
It featured the exact 1817 reverse design for one-year-only.
And that’s why you need to look beyond the numbers. The five Sovereigns I consider to be more collectable than all the others are highlighted in that same graph below. Four of them sit within the top five for highest total mintages, whilst the other has one of the lowest…
Each of these Sovereigns has one thing in common, which makes them the most collectable issues:
In total, the current reign has seen five specially created reverse designs.
The first was issued for the 500th Anniversary of the Sovereign in 1989, whilst Golden and Diamond Jubilees have also seen one-year-only designs.
The Royal Mint attempted to modernise the famous St George and the Dragon design for one year only in 2005 and the latest special reverse was the 2017 Bicentenary of the Modern Sovereign.
It featured a return to the original Gold Sovereign design first released right back in 1817, showing Benedetto Pistrucci’s original garter design, surrounding the St. George and the Dragon engraving that is still considered synonymous with the Gold Sovereign today.
If you take price as an indicator of collectability, it’s clear which Sovereigns top the list – a fact that is reflected in their CPM selling prices today.
Creating a Modern Classic
These Special Reverse Sovereigns have all become true modern classics and today they number among the most valuable and difficult to get hold of Gold Sovereigns.
Every time The Royal Mint has issued a Sovereign with a one-year-only design they have created a modern classic.
Demand for these coins is stronger than ever today because they are so difficult to find, which is why they command a high price on the secondary market.
If you’re interested…
We have been able to compile three Special Reverse Sovereign Sets. They’re not on our website, but if you’d like to own the most collectable Sovereigns in one elite collection, you can fill out the enquiry form below and, assuming we still have one available, we will be in touch.