British Quarter Sovereigns & Technical Specifications

Author: Lawrence Chard - Director and Expert Numismatist

Published: 26 Sep 2019

Last Updated: 10 Oct 2019

The technical specifications for quarter sovereign coins issued from January 2009 is as follows:  

Diameter: 13.50mm
Weight: 1.997g
Alloy (Carats) 22
Fineness (millesimal) 0.9167
Actual Gold Content (Grams) 0.0588
Actual Gold Content (Troy Ounces) 0.001890

A Modern Quarter Sovereign 

This was a new denomination carrying the face value of twenty-five pence. This was the first time a gold quarter sovereign had been issued since 1853 when two pattern set were struck.

According to the Royal Mint:

The Quarter Sovereign Victorian Pattern Pieces

The coinage reform in the reign of George III made no provision for a quarter-sovereign, the denomination of five shillings being satisfactorily served by the large silver crown piece. By 1853, however, there was a perceived need for a more conveniently-sized coin of five shillings and, in initial trials, attractive little quarter-sovereigns were struck as pattern pieces.The quarter-sovereign pattern pieces of 1853 bore the lovely Young Head portrait of Queen Victoria while two different reverse designs were considered.

The first reverse design features a Crowned Royal Shield of Arms with the text 'QUARTER SOVEREIGN 1853' around the edge

The second reverse design features the text of the proposed denomination and text in the center - 'FIVE SHILLINGS 1853' whilst a crown features at the top and a thistle, rose and clover features at the bottom of the reverse.

The proposal was abandoned probably because the coin was so small it could far too easily be lost between a thumb and forefinger. There was also likely to be the problem that it would wear too fast in circulation as was indeed the case with the half sovereign.

Those exquisite Victorian trial pieces now form a treasured part of the Royal Mint collection.

Now in 2009, a quarter sovereign has been made available to collectors for the very first time. Since it takes its place in the sovereign family, Benedetto Pistrucci's St George and the dragon design features on the reverse while the obverse bears the portrait of the Queen by Ian Rank- Broadley FRBS.

Sovereign and Half Sovereign Technical Specifications 

The quarter sovereign technical specification differs only slightly from the half sovereign technical specifications and the full sovereign technical specifications as detailed below:

Full Sovereign Technical Specifications

Diameter (Millimeters) 22.05
Weight (Grams) 7.9881
Alloy (Carats) 22 
Fineness (millesimal) 916.6
Actual Gold Content (Grams) 7.3224
Actual Gold Content (Troy Ounces) 0.235421

 Half Sovereign Technical Specifications

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

Gallery 

Reverse of the 1853 Gold Five Shillings by William Wyon

Reverse of the 1853 Quarter Sovereign by William Wyon

Our range of British gold sovereign coins are available as both bullion sovereigns and specific collectable dates and we are proud to offer guidance to those unsure about which bullion sovereign coin to choose. Gold quarter sovereign coins are popular amongst collectors and investors alike meaning we sell out of stock quickly. To receive immediate notification when we do get stock email notifications can get set up on each product page.

Further Reading

You may wish to read more articles in our sovereign guide

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