2019 Sovereign Information and Buying Advice

Written by Lawrence Chard - Company Director and Expert Numismatist • Last updated 3 Dec 2018

Every year we like to try and guess which design will feature on the reverse of this coin and we like to write a prediction blog. This year we were unable to find the time beforehand to do a blog post, but we did predict a St. George and the Dragon classic and we were right! 

The Sovereign 2019 Design

It looks like the classic design reigns supreme as we see this year’s coin unmasked. The embargo has been lifted to reveal a proof sovereign, proof half-sovereign and proof quarter-sovereign in a box. The coin sets available are a "premium" or a "standard" set. 

The "premium" set contains the £2 double-sovereign, the sovereign and the half-sovereign.

The "non-premium" set which the Royal Mint has avoided calling "standard" or "budget" does not contain the double sovereign. Instead, the double sovereign is replaced with a quarter-sovereign.

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The three-coin sovereign set is the only set available as a "standard" and "premium" set.  

The four and five-coin sovereign sets are only available as "standard" sets. In the four-coin set the sovereign, half-sovereign and quarter-sovereign are accompanied by the double sovereign and in the 5 coin set a quintuple sovereign is also included.

A note to our readers and collectors - a sovereign has always been a £1 coin! According to some recent marketing efforts we notice year in year out companies selling sovereigns at reduced prices, such as £100. Be cautious with marketing paraphernalia as the word sovereign is being used loosely to describe a "full" sovereign, half sovereign and quarter sovereign. When referring to a "full" sovereign the word "full" is superfluous and you can read why here.

Benedetto Pistrucci's St George and the Dragon

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Benedetto was a 19th century engraver from Rome, Italy. His work as a gem-engraver, medallist and coin engraver elevated him to fame and he was commissioned by the British government to produce arguably his most famous work - St. George and the Dragon. The design first appeared on the British sovereign in 1817 under George III and has remained on most coins of this type ever since.

Occasionally the design does change and in 2017 we saw the original 1817 design boasting the inscription Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense. This translates to "Evil be to him who evil thinks thereof", "Shame on him who thinks evil of it" or "Let he who thinks ill there be shamed".  You can read more on this on our blog here. 

Lower Mintage, Limited Edition - Really?

We have already seen marketing emails claiming the 2019 sovereign has a lower mintage than the 2018 sovereign. Surely it is not possible to know this yet? We can only gather the statement refers to the proof sovereign coins and not the uncirculated version. We would be interested to find out what the overall mintage of last year’s coin is to back up this statement or whether the statement should be refined. We think the statement should be made concise as not to mislead customers who may not be armed with the appropriate knowledge. Even the limited-edition claim should be taken lightly as yes, of course as a brand new coin it surely is but this is included to give a sense of urgency to your purchase. Do note however that many of these coins become available, second hand sometimes in perfect condition, for the patient collector at a fraction of the premium. This is just a reminder to our readers to be sceptical and don’t be fooled by marketing poof! 

Our Sovereign Range in 2019!

This year we will be stocking the uncirculated sovereign, the proof sovereign, quarter-proof sovereign and the half-proof sovereign. For the sovereign coin sets we will stock the 5 coin and 3 coin "standard" sets. You can buy direct from the links below or view all of our products on our dedicated 2019 sovereign page.  We are going to update this page with photographs as soon as we have them available. 

2019 Gold Uncirculated Full Sovereign

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Stock Status - Out of Stock

2019 Gold Proof Sovereign

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Stock Status - Available

£405.00

2019 Gold Proof Quarter Sovereign

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Stock Status - Available

£125.00

2019 Gold Proof Half Sovereign

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Stock Status - Available

£200.00

2019 5-Coin Gold Proof Sovereign Set

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Stock Status - Available

£3,050.00

2019 3-Coin Gold Proof Premium Sovereign Set

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Stock Status - Available

£1,320.00

2005 and 2012 Gold Sovereign Designs

Here are 2 recent years where the designs have swayed from Pistrucci's classic. In 2005 Timothy Noad made an attempt to modernise and re-work the St. George and the Dragon design and in 2012 the sovereign boasted a once again upgraded St. george by Paul Day.  

2005 Gold Full Sovereign Elizabeth II UNC

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Stock Status - Out of Stock

No price breaks available on this coin

2012 Gold Sovereign Elizabeth II UNC

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Stock Status - Available

Quantity Premium % Total
1 12 £258.84

Price Per Item:
£258.84
5 9.3 £1,263.00

Price Per Item:
£252.60
10 9.2 £2,523.70

Price Per Item:
£252.37
25 9.1 £6,303.50

Price Per Item:
£252.14
50+ 9 £12,595.50

Price Per Item:
£251.91

Affiliate Schemes

According to Wikipedia this is the definition:

"Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate's own marketing effort"

What this means in layman terms is that affiliates are paid (in real money) to direct customers to the company’s site or produce content that would favour or boost the paying company's reputation. Immediately you need to question the validity and the integrity of what you are reading. We mention this as popular products, like a sovereign, can attract this type of marketing behaviour and you need to watch out for it and be aware. There is no such thing as a free lunch, please remember this! Companies that engage in affiliate marketing must pay and as a result the customer must also pay. Customers end up levied with the increased costs in the form of increased prices or masked in other deals, such as "free" postage. You can read our blog on why free postage might cheat you out of the best deal. It is sometimes hard to know whether the content you are reading is legitimate and honest and sometimes we will never know. At least you can keep this information in the back of your mind when being marketed to and wonder if an incentive is behind the hype and sometimes mis-information you are presented with. For the record, Chards do not and will not engage in affiliate marketing practices as we believe our website pages and prices carry sufficient merit without the need for it, as a result the price you pay is not subsidising this activity. 

Harrington and Byrne

Every year we see a piece of marketing from this coin marketing company usually in the form of printed ads for sovereigns (more recently this has been posted directly to our directors’ home address). Firstly, we ought to check whether this delivery information has been collected in a GDPR-compliant fashion and whether it is even legal. Secondly the advert is full of marketing and sales hype and sometimes quite misleading to the unexpecting reader. We have just received a letter dated 15th October where its said:

"It was with much excitement that The Royal Mint announced the release of the 2018 UK Gold Sovereign" 

This letter seems to be about 12 months too late given the fact 2019 sovereigns have just been released. Maybe they have surplus stock that needs to be sold so are trying to make ownership of last year’s coin sound like an exciting prospect. The letter then goes on to say:

"This importance has grown further still in 2018 with the release of the sovereign coinciding with the Coronation Jubilee celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II"

The coin was absolutely not issued to commemorate this it just so happens to be the same year!! We feel like we should ask The Royal Mint if this was the case. This might not bear much fruit as the Royal Mint are sending email marketing claiming:

"The Sovereign has evolved from a circulating coin to a commemorative coin"

On both these counts what exactly apart from the year is it commemorating? We do wonder. This is not the first time we have seen attempts to turn a sovereign into a commemorative coin to tempt buyers. As far as we are concerned as numismatists, the sovereign is not a commemorative coin but is a gold bullion coin with a face value of one pound. Yes, the proof coins are collectable and any coins of a given year make great presents for anniversaries or birthdays. This is where we stop! We try not to inflate the role of this coin beyond its limits. For goodness sake the sovereign has always been a pound coin! This has been the case since Henry VII first struck a sovereign in 1485 to a value of 20 shillings, back then a pound in value. We have a page on the first gold sovereign if you wish to read more.

To provide this "great" price Harrington and Byrne can only offer this deal for 10 days. We believe this is to make the potential customer feel a sense of urgency about the purchase. To add to this urgency, they offer only 5 per household to make you feel like this offer is even more exclusive. Hopefully by by now you know it is not, as for instance, we have just ordered another batch of 500 2018 unc sovereigns where you could buy all 500 in one go! Their stance is that the price is linked to a live gold price and as prices fluctuate the offer needs an expiry time, we of course understand this. To manage the risk therefore they raise the price offering a sovereign at £239 which is £9 higher per coin than us on the same day. I do wonder if gold price increased, say by 20%, would they honour this advert. I may never know. Granted with our £9 postage a delivered sovereign comes in at the same price but customers are not even given the option and the "free" postage  deal is surely cheating some customers. By the time these adverts are paid for H & B must be losing money and running these as a loss maker, if not at a loss a measly profit. We reckon these are run at next to no profits in order to get you on the mailing list. Take note of their non-GDPR complaint tick box to opt out of joining their mailing list. It is good practice to avoid soft-opt-in tactics, more likely with GDPR requirements their advert is not compliant. A soft opt in is where by default you are signed up to a mailing list or service and must conciously remove yourself. We do not use these soft-opt ins anywhere on our site.  

The advert also makes a point of "send no money now" which is a ludicrous statement really as I can’t imagine they will deliver it then ask you for it! Is this just to get you to ring them and sign up to more marketing perhaps? 

So in conclusion, the price of £239 doesn’t seem too bad for a sovereign but please read between the lines and do not become naive to marketing tactics. We have yet to see an advert for 2019 but will update this page when and if we do. Unless they read this and remove us from their mailing list that is! 

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Closing Comments and Buying Advice

We hope the information provided draws attention to the hype and borderline mis-information that you can get bombarded with when dealing with a popular product. We always advise our customers to research any purchase before going ahead and this includes checking out the dealer who you are going to buy from or sell to (we recommend companies house and third-party reviews), to compare product premiums and not the price (find out how to calculate a premium from the final price) and finally to be sceptical about "free" postage deals as firstly your being made a fool of thinking its free and secondly you might not be getting the best deal.

We invite you to compare our prices against other dealers and you will see we publish all our premiums on all bullion products to make it easy to compare. We hope you find our prices and information helpful and we look forward to any business with you.