The definitive guide to selling gold sovereigns and coins

Sovereigns are attractive coins with an interesting history which form a key part of the UK’s heritage and tradition.

In recent years, these collectable items have often been used in jewellery or given as gifts for special occasions like weddings and christenings.

Rare or proof sovereigns are highly sought after by serious coin collectors, but even lower-grade coins can command a premium price.

If you’ve got a gold sovereign to sell, this guide will help you understand the best time, place and way to sell them.

What is a sovereign?

The term Sovereign is used to describe a gold coin of the United Kingdom weighing 7.98805 grams. Struck from 1817 to the present day, they usually have a nominal value in sterling but are worth much more as bullion or to collectors.

How much gold is in a UK sovereign?

When buying or selling sovereigns, it’s important to know how much pure gold each coin contains as this will determined its bullion price.

Often made from 22ct gold, they are around 91.66% in fineness – containing around 7.315 grams of pure gold (0.2353544 troy ounces) per coin.

What is a bullion sovereign?

Bullion Sovereign is a term used to describe a sovereign which is bought and sold purely based on the value of its gold content.

Gold investors often prefer to buy bullion sovereigns rather than pay the ‘spot’ price for one ounce of gold.

What is a spot price?

The ‘spot’ price of gold is a reference to the worth of one ounce as it could be bought or sold right now.

It is only usually Bullion Sovereigns which are traded in relation to this price. Newly-minted sovereigns or secondary market sovereigns fall into this lower-premium category.

How much is the scrap value of a sovereign?

In 2019, the average selling price that we would buy your sovereign for at Warwick & Warwick was between £180 to £200.

Sovereigns are often traded using the term ‘spot’ or ‘scrap’ value. But this does NOT mean they will be melted down.

For anyone who is buying sovereigns solely for investing, the condition of the coin is very important, NOT the weight of the gold.

Typical UK gold coin values

Although the worth of a gold sovereign should be judged on its own merits, there are a number of other popular coins which are traded frequently.

Britannia Sovereigns: £100, £50, £25 and £10 gold proof sets are we regularly purchase them for between £1,400 and £1,600.

The 1989 Gold Proof Sovereign: In 1989, the Royal Mint struck a unique design to commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the first gold Sovereign, based on a design similar to the first gold sovereign issued in 1489.

It was struck in denominations of £5, £2, sovereign and half sovereign. This design is the rarest of the modern sovereigns and a single boxed proof sovereign sold in our auction on 17 April 2019 for £800.

Half Sovereigns: This 22ct gold coin contains 3.66g of fine gold and we frequently sell these for between £90 and £100.

Guineas: Guineas vary widely in price, with modern ones fetching anything from £500 to £1,700. 

Guineas from pre-1817 are worth far more – as proven by our recent auction prices.

In February 2019, an extremely rare 1701 fine work five guineas coin (pictured above) sold for a whopping £42,000 at our specialist coin auction.

Earlier in the sale, we had already achieved a successful £14,400 bid for the sale of a first bust, five guineas milled coin from 1678/7 (pictured above).

At an auction in April 2019, we also achieved £4,920 for this 1745 guinea (pictured above) and £2,520 for an 1817 sovereign (pictured below).

Other common gold coins from around the world include:

Philharmoniker £100, £50, £25 and £10: Struck by the Austrian Mint, these vary in price widely.

Eagle £20: Produced by the United States from 1850, the 1oz gold Eagle coin could be worth upwards of £900 at auction – and much more for the earliest issues.

Maple dollars: A Canadian coin minted from 24ct gold and available in various denominations ($50, $20, $10, $5 and $2), it may be worth upwards of £1,000 at auction.

Nugget Sovereigns: A traditional Australian sovereign with a pure gold content of 31g which can fetch around £1,000.

1920 King George sovereign: An exceptionally rare Australian coin which was worth £780,000 back in 2012.

Krugerrands: Minted since 1967, this South African sovereign (pictured below) is arguably the most popular 1oz bullion gold coin in the world, offering great value for upwards of £900 at auction.

Do I have to pay tax when selling sovereigns?

Sovereigns continue to remain popular with investors because they frequently go up in value.

Another advantage about investing in gold sovereigns is that those produced after 1837 are EXEMPT from Capital Gains Tax (CGT) with HMRC.

This is because all UK sovereigns minted since this date are classified as currency – meaning they’re not chargeable assets and will NOT be subject to CGT.

CGT is the tax you pay on any profit you make when an item is sold. So, if you bought an item for £500 and sold it for £1200, the CGT would be paid on the £700 profit you made from the sale. But because gold sovereigns are exempt, you don’t have to pay CGT.

The same rule applies for Britannia gold coins. However, Krugerrands and the other worldwide sovereigns listed above may be subject to CGT because they’re not UK currency.

Where can I sell my gold sovereign?

Before you sell any gold sovereigns, it’s worth considering which avenue will help you achieve the best realisation.

eBay and online auction sites

Give you access to a global audience, but buyers are reluctant to pay a premium for an item they cannot inspect.

Coin dealers & shops

If you know the sovereign is collectable, you may receive an offer above the bullion price. Great for securing a quick sale, but they’ll only pay a wholesale or discounted price so they can sell your sovereigns for a profit.

Auction houses

Even after commissions, selling at a coin auction can offer a better return because it lets you get closer to the ‘retail’ price.

At Warwick & Warwick, we have an extensive database of numismatists and coin collectors from around the world who are interested in the rarest items.

Private Treaty Sale

Removes the uncertainty of the auction room and achieves a good price - based upon a fair and accurate current market valuation - which is not subject to any commissions. Visit our Private Treaty Sales page to find out more!

You can also read our How to sell rare coins guide for more practical information.

Selling sovereigns to Warwick & Warwick

A sovereign’s worth should NOT be dictated by its gold ‘bullion’ value alone.

Collectors obviously prefer sovereigns to be in ‘mint’ condition rather than ‘worn’ because it boosts the coin’s rarity value.

As a general rule of thumb, the better the condition, the more a sovereign will usually be worth.

Consequently, sovereigns which have been mounted in jewellery are often a lesser quality and are NOT usually suitable for coin collectors.

We still buy lower grade sovereigns and gold coins like this via Private Treaty, but they command a far lower price.

To make the valuation process easy and transparent, we provide professional, impartial advice with no obligation to sell.

When calculating the value of any sovereign, our experts always consider:

  • Condition – bullion, brilliant uncirculated, proof issue etc
  • Year of mintage
  • Mint mark
  • Minting errors
  • Today’s bullion value

If you’re selling gold sovereigns and need independent advice, our experts can give you a 100% accurate valuation.

To discover how much your item or collection could be worth, please get in touch or call 01926 499031 for an informal discussion.

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