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Great Britain Sovereign 1871 to 1885
I love these old sovereigns. The price changes daily with the price of gold. There are many variations, including different mint marks and different designs on the reverse. Each one is prettier than the next, in my opinion!
To get a good idea of value, note that sovereigns contain 0.2354 troy ounces of gold. Using a web site such as kitco.com you can find the current price of gold and multiply to find the basic value of a sovereign. For instance, if gold is $1000 US dollars per ounce, the base price would be 0.2354 x 1000 = $235.
In addition to the basic gold value, these coins from 1871 to 1885 with the 'young head' portrait of Queen Victoria carry collector value as well. The collector value varies with condition, roughly as follows:
worn: add $0 US dollars
average circulated (like our picture): add $20
fully uncirculated: add $100
These values apply to all dates between 1871 and 1885, but one date is more rare and the collector premium goes up:
SOVEREIGNS DATED 1879:
worn: add $300
average circulated: add $600
fully uncirculated: add $5000
Look under the Queen's portrait and you may see a small mint mark. If the mint mark is M or S, click to this CoinQuest page; your coin was minted in Australia, not Great Britain. This page applies only to coins without mint marks beneath the Queen's portrait.
The coin in our picture comes from Chris Taylor of BucksCoins and WestminsterAuctions.com in Norfolk, United Kingdom. It is a nice circulated example which has picked up some pleasing toning over the years. Some collectors (like me) enjoy toned coins and are willing to pay a little more to get attractive examples. Some collectors are the opposite. They think toning discredits the coin and they won't buy them at any price. It is a matter of taste.
CoinQuest thanks Chris Taylor for use of his coin photo.
Reverse misalignment often happens on old coins when the dies rotate slightly in the minting press. Usually the rotation is not a full 180 degrees. If it is exactly 180 degrees, you might have a medal that was made to look like a genuine sovereign, or you might have an unusual minting error. Or you could be looking a the coin wrong -- it depends how you turn the coin over, left to right or top to bottom.