Great Britain 1823 sovereign

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Heritage sale 3081, lot 32231
photo courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries

This specimen was lot 32231 in Heritage sale 3081 (New York, January 2020), where it sold for $7,200. The catalog description[1] noted, "Great Britain: George IV gold Sovereign 1823 MS61 NGC. Very appealing for its grade, bearing near-full luster and only trivial bagmarks, hints of orange tone floating atop the lemon-gold surfaces. From a mintage of 617,000 pieces, and although this may sound fairly substantial, all of these pieces saw heavy circulation, and throughout the 19th century heavily worn Sovereigns were melted for reissue. As such, this date is difficult to obtain in any grade, and the select few which have survived in Mint State always attract significant bidder attention." As part of the monetary reform of 1817, the gold guinea of 21 shillings was dropped in favor of the sovereign of 20 shillings or one pound. This type, issued for George IV 1821-25, was minted in substantial numbers (about 23 million total) but is very scarce in nice condition. The sovereign would be struck for circulation through World War One and is still struck at the Royal Mint today but is sold as a bullion coin.

Recorded mintage: 617,000, a rare date.

Specification: 7.98 g, .917 fine gold, .235 troy oz AGW.

Catalog reference: Fr-376, KM 682, S-3800.


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  • Michael, Thomas, and Tracy L. Schmidt, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 9th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2019.
  • Friedberg, Arthur L. and Ira S. Friedberg, Gold Coins of the World, From Ancient Times to the Present, 9th ed., Clifton, NJ: Coin and Currency Institute, 2017.
  • Lobel, Richard, Mark Davidson, Allan Hailstone and Eleni Calligas, Coincraft's Standard Catalogue of English and UK Coins, 1066 to Date, London: Coincraft, 1995.
  • Skingley, Philip, ed., Standard Catalogue of British Coins: Coins of England & the United Kingdom, 46th edition, London: Spink & Son, 2011.
  • [1]Bierrenbach, Cristiano, Warren Tucker and Sam Spiegel, Heritage World and Ancient Coins Auction 3081, featuring the Caranett Collection, Dallas, TX: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2019.

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