Hype & Misinformation

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

Inaccurate Information From Our Competitors

In our web sites, we try to give you accurate, factual and historical information about all our products, including gold sovereigns. Some of our competitors are not as careful or accurate. Normally, we wouldn't stoop to criticise our competitors, but occasionally we come across an example so bad, that we just can't help commenting. We reproduce below a cutting from the web site of an American dealer. To spare their embarrassment, we will not name them here.

Spot The Errors and Hype

British Sovereign Kings 1893-1931

  • USED IN DESERT STORM - British Sovereigns are recognized worldwide and have been used as emergency money for decades. Allied World War II pilots carried British Gold Sovereigns in their survival kits. Even in Desert Storm, American pilots carried these historic gold coins as their emergency money in case they were downed in Iraqi territory. Clearly, genuine British Sovereigns are private, portable, and have instant liquidity worldwide.
  • BEAUTIFUL COLLECTOR COINS - British Sovereigns feature the bust of the reigning King or Queen. The reverse displays the mythical "Saint George slaying the dragon" design by Benetto Pistrucci. Naturally, because each coin was approved by the Monarch, great attention to detail in the design and minting at the British Royal Mints.
  • PRIVATE, NON-REPORTABLE - Best of all British Sovereign Kinfs are non-reportable. Today's price of $95 each in Brilliant Uncirculated condition makes these ideal for new gold collectors or as gifts. Please call for cash and quantity discounts on more than 10 pieces.

Minted at Seven Different British Mints on Five Continents: 

  • Britain No Mint Mark
  • Australia "P" Mint Mark for Perth
  • "M" Mint Mark for Melbourne
  • Canada "C" Mint Mark for Canada
    India "I" Mint Mark for India
  • South Africa "SA" for South Africa

Did You Spot These?

  • British Sovereign Kings 1893-1931 - Well, actually, it was Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901. King Edward VII reigned from 1901 to 1910, although no Edward coins were issued until 1902.
  • "Benetto Pistrucci" - The designers name was actually Benedetto Pistrucci.
  • "Naturally, because each coin was approved by the Monarch, great attention to detail in the design and minting at the British Royal Mints." Can you imagine the king personally inspecting every one of the 123,673,360 sovereigns struck in London between 1911 and 1925? It works out at 1 coin every 4 seconds. If you were to include the 162,330,746 struck at the other mints, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Pretoria, Ottawa and Bombay, he would have been quite a busy chap!
  • "British Sovereign Kinfs" - We presume this is a typographical error, and should read "British Sovereign Kings", but even this isn't very accurate. We presume they mean British King Sovereigns.
  • "Brilliant Uncirculated condition" - Being charitable, we suppose they could be Brilliant Uncirculated, but we doubt that their grading standards are as accurate or conservative as ours. Coins graded "uncirculated" can have quite heavy bag marks, scuffs and scratches, but we prefer to call such coins EF (XF) or almost Uncirculated. Perhaps it's just us being a tiny bit over-conservative, but then again, maybe not; we suspect that the American dealer is overgrading their coins.
  • Minted at Seven Different British Mints on Five Continents: See list below for the six mints they have listed, OK so they missed out Sydney, Australia; but should you even think about buying gold sovereigns from people who can't count? Besides, listing "Britain" is slightly odd, in that it is more usual to call it either the London mint or the Royal Mint (it actually moved from London to Llantrisant in 1971).

Britain No Mint Mark
Australia "P" Mint Mark for Perth
"M" Mint Mark for Melbourne
Canada "C" Mint Mark for Canada
India "I" Mint Mark for India
South Africa "SA" for South Africa

The Same American Dealer is Responsible For The Following

"British Sovereigns - 2000 Queens

Gem Brilliant Uncirculated, PCGS MS-66 to MS-68..... $175.00, 2/$330.00"

We sell ours at £65 / $107 each. OK, so we don't get ours graded and "slabbed" (encapsulated in plastic), but as they packed in plastic sheets at the Royal Mint before we collect them, we hardly think it is necessary. We prefer to think that our customers have sufficient intelligence to be able to judge the condition for themselves.
It is true that, as these are only "uncirculated bullion" versions, most will have a few minor imperfections. If a customer wanted us to pick out the best ones, we are sure we could oblige for less than $68, in fact $10 extra would strike us as very reasonable.
If anyone wanted to be absolutely certain they had the very best coins, and a certificate to prove it, they would be best advised to wait for the Proof version, which we are offering at $230 each. Proof coins, as you will know, are struck to extremely high standards of perfection, and feature a specially polished finish.