Sovereign FAQ's

Author: Lawrence Chard - Chairman and CEO

Published: 19 Feb 2018

Last Updated: 24 Dec 2022


We receive over 100 enquiries daily, many about gold sovereigns. Here is a small sample together with some of our answers.

My mother has a gold sovereign 1883 ....

Q -Hi My mother has a gold sovereign 1883 the head on the back of the coin seams (sic) to be upside down.That is the top of the head is over the date. Have you ever heard of this before? If so can you email me back with some information on the coin.

A - Read on down this page!

Can you Identify this coin? 

Q - Can you Identify this coin? I have scan (sic) the back and front and would like any information you may have. Thanks.

A - Sorry we couldn't address this to you personally as you forgot to tell us your name. As a routine matter of computer security, we do not open e-mail file attachments. They may contain computer viruses which could potentially destroy or corrupt all the files on our computer, and all the many hours of work they contain. We also consider it rather discourteous to send e-mails with 1.75MB zip files without asking the intended recipient beforehand. Do you know how long it takes to download a 1.75 MB file using a 56Kb/s modem and a connection speed of about 40 Kb/s? British Telecom charge us about 5 pence per minute at peak rates, so a 20 minute download costs us about £1, not to mention the value of our time waiting to receive our other mail. We can only assume that you have a T3 connection. On our website, most of our images are between 3 and 20 KB, in fact I just checked, and the 70 files on our site, plus about 80 images occupy only about 1.5MB! On our other website:- www.24carat.co.uk. We have a page called I've Found an Old Coin. What's It Worth? This contains advice which you may find helpful. 

I have recently found an interesting coin ...

Q - I have recently found an interesting coin and wonder if you could tell me anything about it. It is gold coloured ,has the head of a man on one side with ' GEORGIVS III DEI GRATIA' On one side and a shield with 'CJHREX.FID.CLX.LOZELLES.BIRM. 1770' on the other. If you could mail me any information on this I would be most grateful. 

A - We get over 100 e-mails daily, many asking similar questions. Sadly, we just don't have the time to give individual answers. A museum, library or local dealer would be a good start. What can be identified in milliseconds on sight, might take hours without seeing the coin.On our original website www.24carat.co.ukyou can find a lot of general information about various coins. There is also a page - Click on Information, - Frequently Asked Coin Questions, - I've Found an Old Coin. What's It Worth?, which gives more detailed advice about how to identify and value it. 

My head is upside down, does this make it more valuable?

A - This is on old chestnut! Firstly, it's impossible for the head side of a coin to be upside down. As the head, or obverse, is by definition the main side of any coin, then logically it cannot be upside down. It is the reverse, or tail, side which is upside down. Actually, even this explanation is not quite correct. When you turn a coin over, most people nowadays hold the coin at the top and bottom, and then turn the coin around its vertical axis, rather like a medal, in fact this is known as medal alignment. On most modern coins, this makes it appear that both sides of the coin are the same way up. On many older coins, however, it was the custom to have the obverse and reverse the opposite way round. People using these old coins at the time would almost certainly have held the coin at the left and right sides turn it round its horizontal axis, and the reverse side would then have appeared to them to be the right way up. This is called coin alignment because ti is the way most coins used to be made. Strangely enough, if you had given someone from the history books one of our modern coins, when they turned it over, by its horizontal axis, they would have said that the tail side was upside down. If you had been living in the days of Henry VIII, when British monarchs were not as sensitive to public opinion as now, and had dared to suggest the the king's head was on the tail side, or worse still the back side, you would have been in danger of your own head being removed and replaced upside down, or placed on you tail side.

Read our article on  Coin & Medal Alignment on Gold Sovereigns

I have seen gold sovereigns for sale in Kuwait and Bahrain airports.....

Q - I have seen gold sovereigns for sale in Kuwait and Bahrain airports. All of them appear to be new, and all of them are dated 1926. How can so many new 1926 sovereigns be available ?

A - They make and sell their own, which makes them copies or counterfeits, illegal to posses in the UK and many other countries. Some have "22" stamped on them, technically that may make them a "copy" rather than a counterfeit. We also sell the genuine product for less, see our bullion sovereigns page. If you import coins bought outside the EU, you are liable to VAT unless you smuggle them in which is risky and pointless.

How much is a 1915 sovereign worth?

A - It depends whether you are buying or selling, on the condition, possibly the mint-mark, whether the coin is genuine. It is very difficult for us to tell most of this without seeing the coin. It also depends whether you want a valuation or an offer to buy. Most dealers, including us will perform valuations for a fee, many will make an offer to buy, but they will need to see the coin. Your best action is to look on our site at our selling prices for similar coins, both individually and as bullion coins.Taking it to a local (to you) museum or dealer should help you find whether it is genuine. You could always try the local library for a coin catalogue, such as Seaby's Standard Catalogue of British Coins, which gives values for all British coins.

How much is a 1949 sovereign?

A - Sorry, but 1949 sovereigns do not exist.Gold sovereigns, like most other coins, were only struck as and when required. In addition...

I have been loking (sic) for a 1953 sovereigns for a gift....

Sorry, no. 1953 sovereigns were struck, but were never issued.

How much is a 1949 sovereign?

A - Sorry, but 1949 sovereigns do not exist.Gold sovereigns, like most other coins, were only struck as and when required. In addition...

Price for 50 BU sovereigns pre 1933?

A - The following answer is now out-of-date, as we do now supply to North America.:- Sorry, but we do not quote for bullion coins for the USA or Canada. We would love to quote you for these, but unfortunately, you are in the USA, and we cannot find an economic and secure method of getting them to the USA or Canada. Of all the countries, the only two which cause us any delivery problems are these two. Fedex quoted us about £100 until they heard what we wanted to send, and then they told us that there would be a loading factor of about 400% because we wanted to send valuables. Vietnam, yes; Western Samoa, yes;, USA and Canada, sorry no! You could try asking your senator why the US postal service does not have a reciprocal arrangement with the British Royal Mail. We are happy to ship individual collectors specimens to the USA and Canada. Incidentally, we see very few pre 1933 sovereigns which we would describe as BU, most of ours we would describe as EF. It may be that your local dealer is not quite as conservative with their grading as we are.

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