Technical Specification of a Gold Sovereign

Author: Lawrence Chard - Chairman and CEO

Published: 26 Feb 2018

Last Updated: 24 Dec 2022


The technical specification for gold sovereign coins dated from 1817 is as follows:

2020 sovereign gold bullion coin st george and the dragon benedetto pistrucci

Sovereign Technical Specifications

Diameter (Millimeters)  22.05
Weight (Grams) 7.988
Alloy (Carats) 22
Fineness (millesimal) 916.6
Actual Gold Content (Grams) 7.322
Actual Gold Content (Troy Ounces) 0.2354

The First Sovereign 

Initially produced for Henry VII in 1489, the gold sovereign was an embodiment of the power, grandure and divine authority of the Tudor monarchy. Designed by German engraver, Alexander of Bruchasal, the obverse of the coin portayed the King adorning his coronation robes whilst upon his throne. At the time the sovereign weighed half a troy ounce (15.55 grams), comprised of 23 carat gold and held a face value of twenty shillings or one pound sterling. 

The Modern Sovereign 

As a consequence of the coin shortage faced by the British government following the Napoleonic Wars, the British Coinage Act of 1816 specified that the gold sovereign would once again be produced. However, unlike the 1489 gold sovereign, this modern itteration weighed under half of the original at 7.9881 grams, stamped into 22 carat gold, the same specifications used today. The first modern sovereign was produced by the Royal Mint in 1817, featuring the now iconic engraving of St George and the Dragon as envisioned by designer Benedetto Pistrucci, and the obverse revealing a portrait of ruler George III.

Many Faces Of The Sovereign 

The reverse of the sovereign coin has bore many designs, from the classic 'shield sovereign', various incarnations of the 'Saint George' to the early 'broad' and 'unite',  the gold sovereignn has remained a staple of british coinage, with may of these depictions being reimagined for annivsaries and landmark occassions.  

Half Sovereign and Quarter Sovereign Technical Specifications 

The full sovereign technical specifications are similiar to those of the half sovereign and the quarter sovereign as demonstrated below: 

Half Sovereign Technical Specifications

Diameter (Millimeters)  19.30
Weight (Grams) 3.994
Alloy (Carats) 22
Fineness (millesimal) 916.6
Actual Gold Content (Grams) 3.661
Actual Gold Content (Troy Ounces) 0.1177

 Quarter Sovereign Technical Specifications

Diameter (Millimeters) 13.50
Weight (Grams) 1.997
Alloy (Carats) 22
Fineness (millesimal) 916.6
Actual Gold Content (Grams) 1.8306
Actual Gold Content (Troy Ounces) 0.0588

2016 proof sovereign obverse

1925 Gold sovereign reverse

Given the popularity of the sovereign coin we tend to sell out of stock rather quickly. To receive a notification of when we have more gold sovereign in stock email notifications can be set up on each product page. 

The sovereign coin has enjoyed a rich history with the varying designs and gold sovereign value making it an attractive addition to collections and investment portfolios alike. For those looking to enhance their existing selection we are proud to offer our expertise and advice for when you decide to buy gold sovereign.

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