Sell your gold sovereigns right now!

What is better than finding a gold sovereign? Finding a double gold sovereign, particularly as they can be worth as much as £4,000 in the current market!

Have you ever found any gold sovereigns in unlikely places? I have as, during a valuation, while searching through a box of mixed items, I discovered three sovereigns which the client had originally believed to be worthless copper. They were very pleased to hear from me that Victorian and later sovereigns make £300 to £500 in the current market. 

The price of silver and gold has increased dramatically over recent months, which makes it a particularly good time to sell gold coins and jewellery. Gold coins often appear mounted on charm bracelets or as watch fobs. Although most items of silver and gold that I value have an intrinsic value of their own, the scrap value does have a bearing on the price that pieces will make at auction. 

There is a great danger when precious metal prices are very high that those with collections of silver and gold think they will get a higher price for them if they sell them for scrap. This is not the case; most items of silver and gold that I value have a real value of their own. 

The double sovereign is a gold coin with a nominal value of £2. Rarely issued in the early years since its debut in 1820; it is now a collectable coin and has been struck most years since 1980. It features the reigning monarch on its obverse and, most often, Benedettos Pictrucci’s depiction of St. George and the dragon on the reverse.

The double sovereign first minted in 1820, which depicted George III, never entered circulation. In the following years, it was most often issued to mark the beginning of a new reign, or the institution of a new coinage portrait of the reigning monarch. These were mostly proof coins and few examples that are worn from circulation use can be found.

In 1819, possibly because of the decline in the health of King George III (reigned 1760–1820), Wellesley-Pole instructed Pistrucci, who was then acting as chief engraver of the Royal Mint, to prepare dies for the double sovereign and the five-pound piece. It was considered to be a race against time to complete the dies before George III died. However, the king died before the new coins were ready. A total of sixty pieces are reported to have been struck.  

In 1823, Pistrucci’s reverse was used again on the double sovereign, joined with an obverse bust of the new king, George IV (reigned 1820–1830) by Jean Baptiste Merlen, based on a bust by Sir Francis Chantrey, who was born at Jordanthorpe – then a Derbyshire village, now a suburb of Sheffield – where his family had a small farm. 

Pistrucci, believing he should not be called upon to adapt the work of another artist and therefore refused to convert Chantrey’s bust to a coin. The double sovereign had the same inscription around the monarch’s head as in 1820 except IIII was substituted for III, and the date was moved to the reverse. 

Since 1980, the double sovereign has been sold as a collector’s coin by the Royal Mint. In some years it was not issued, and the Royal Mint instead placed gold versions of the commemorative £2 piece in the gold proof sets.

Charles III sovereigns currently make between £280 and £400 in an appropriate auction; and not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but we will eventually have a George VII sovereign – and who knows what they will be worth then?

Advice to my clients who are thinking of selling sovereigns is to do it now and optimise on the market whilst it is strong. 

Editor’s Note: If you would like a valuation and advice, contact Vivienne Milburn FRICS on 01629 640210 or 07870 238788. Alternatively, go to  or email