Full Sovereign - Tautology?

Written by Lawrence Chard - Company Director and Expert Numismatist • Last updated 26 Oct 2018

It is common for sovereigns to get referred to as "full sovereigns" espeically when used in context or conversation with a quarter or half sovereign. We use it on our site to differentiate between sizes of sovereigns on our product page though strictly this is grammatically incorrect...

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Tautology

henryviii400Tautology means saying the same thing twice. A gold sovereign is a British coin weighing approximately eight grams, and with a face, or legal tender value of one pound sterling, and a diameter just over 22 millimetres. A half sovereign is a smaller British coin weighing about four grams, with a diameter of 19.30 millimetres, and a face value of ten shillings. Many people appear to think it is necessary to say "full sovereign" to distinguish it from a half sovereign. This should not be necessary. As our best and most important product are gold sovereigns, whenever we say "sovereign" we mean what we say i.e. a "full sovereign" and not a half sovereign. If we wish to refer to a half sovereign, we will say so. We enclose a photo of a well fed "full" sovereign to the right.....

Royal Mint Should Know Better

A few years back, we noticed the British Royal Mint running adverts which we believe were misleading. Although they disagreed, they have now changed the wording of their adverts. You might wish to judge for yourself on our misleading advertising from a surprising source page. Not that they used the term full sovereign, just that they said sovereign when they meant half sovereign, thereby opening the door to confusion, and in our opinion deliberately misleading potential customers.

Full or Empty

If so many people think it necessary to add the word full to their description of a sovereign, what we would love to see is an empty sovereign, surely it's the opposite of a full one?