What is a British Sovereign?

The British Sovereign is a gold coin manufactured under British Authority almost continually since 1817 with a break in production during both world wars and between 1937 and 1957. It was named after the English Gold Sovereign last minted in 1604. The coin has a nominal value one pound sterling but it is now used mainly as a bullion coin. Sovereigns were minted in the United Kingdom from 1817 to 1917 and from 1957. Australia, India, Canada and South Africa also minted coins The initial design for the reverse was the shield and crown motif this design was followed by a portrayal of St George killing a dragon. The obverse was the ruling monarch.

Its weight is 7.99 grams.

Its purity is .917 fine.

It contains 7.31 grams of gold.

It contains .235 troy ounces of gold.

It was made to circulate with a value of one pound sterling in all of the British Commonwealth. It was a very commonly used and valued coin for trade.

Australia also made these to facilitate its large gold output and issued the coins from 1855 until 1931.

It also has a half sister which is scarcer. The half was manufactured from 1817 to 1953 with the same breaks in production as the big brother.

Its weight is 3.99 grams.

Its purity is .917 fine.

It contains 3.67 grams of gold.

It contains .118 troy ounces of gold.

Mintmarks on the British sovereigns minted in Australia are S for Sydney, M for Melbourne and P for Perth Australia and for the British minted coins there are various die numbers stamped into the design of the coins usually in the lower fields.

I am told that two British soverigns or gold pounds were carried by each member of the flight crews in world war two to be used to pay for safe return should their airplane land someplace other than its scheduled runway.