British Half Sovereigns & Technical Specification

Written by Lawrence Chard - Company Director and Expert Numismatist • Last updated 8 Nov 2018

1544 or 1817?

Although the sovereign came into being in 1489 for Henry VII, half sovereigns were not produced until the reign of Henry VIII in 1544. The history of sovereigns and half sovereigns then follows a similar course. The modern half sovereign commenced in 1817 under George III.

A Real Coin

Sovereign and halves were real circulating coins until the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. At about this time, most countries in the world reduced or stopped production of gold coins for circulation and switched to a "token" coinage.

Out of Production

By 1933, almost every country had stopped gold coin production, and it did not restart until about 1960. Even now, there are no countries where any gold coins regularly circulate as part of the coinage system. The last half sovereign to be issued for circulation was in 1926

Half Sovereign Production Restarted

The production of sovereigns, as bullion coins, restarted in 1957, and in 1982, ordinary bullion half sovereigns were produced after a break of 56 years.


From 1980, the Royal Mint started to produce special edition proof versions for collectors, and these are now likely to be produced every year.

2000 & The Third Millennium

After a break of 18 years since 1982, the Royal Mint has again started production of "ordinary" sovereigns in 2000, and it is possible that they too will be produced in following years. We give below a table showing the technical specifications of modern half sovereigns.

Prices & Availability

We sell two different types of bullion half sovereign the newly minted half sovereign and the secondary market half sovereign. We include the "full" gold sovereign for premium and price comparison:

Product Price Stock Status
Bullion Half Sovereigns - Secondary Market From £125.69 Available
Bullion Half Sovereigns - Newly Minted From £129.07 Out of Stock
Bullion Sovereign Best Value - Newly Minted From £239.46 Available
Bullion Sovereign Best Value - Secondary Market From £236.91 Available

When we do get bullion half sovereigns in stock we sell out very quickly. If you wish to be the first to know when we do get stock be sure to set up a stock notification via email on the product pages. You can view all of our dated gold half sovereigns on this link here

Bullion Half Sovereigns - Secondary Market


Stock Status - Available

Quantity Premium % Total
1 10 £127.31

Price Per Item:
5 9 £630.80

Price Per Item:
10 8.9 £1,260.40

Price Per Item:
25 8.8 £3,148.25

Price Per Item:
50 8.7 £6,290.50

Price Per Item:
100+ 8.6 £12,569.00

Price Per Item:

Bullion Half Sovereigns - Newly Minted


Stock Status - Out of Stock

Quantity Premium % Total
1 12.5 £130.23

Price Per Item:
5 12.35 £650.30

Price Per Item:
10 12.25 £1,299.40

Price Per Item:
25 12 £3,241.25

Price Per Item:
50 11.75 £6,468.00

Price Per Item:
100+ 11.5 £12,907.00

Price Per Item:

Technical Specifications

For all modern half sovereigns, i.e. from 1817:

Diameter 19.30 mm.
Weight 3.99 grams.
Alloy (Carats) 22
Fineness (millesimal) 916.6
Actual Gold Content (Grams) 3.6575
Actual Gold Content (Troy Ounces) 0.1177