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Canadian (Or British) Sovereigns

 
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Author Previous TopicReplies: 11 / Views: 602Next Topic  
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Canada
615 Posts
 Posted 06/20/2021  04:43 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Silver101 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I was just looking at a beautiful 1911 gold Sovereign over on the grading forum and it got me wondering whether those coins were ever used as currency? There seems to be a fair number of them in AU/MS condition - you don't see a lot of VGs or VFs floating around.
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United Kingdom
8931 Posts
 Posted 06/20/2021  06:27 am  Show Profile   Check NumisRob's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add NumisRob to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Certainly in the UK, gold sovereigns were in general everyday use until World War 1. When I was a kid I remember speaking to several elderly people who had received sovereigns in their pay packets when they had started work!

As they were withdrawn from circulation shortly after the start of WW1, it would be normal to expect a 1911 sovereign to be in no worse than about EF condition - it could only have circulated for a maximum of three or four years.

Generally, I believe that sovereigns were subject to more scrutiny in the banks than silver or bronze coins, and underweight coins were sent back to The Royal Mint for melting. I also expect that individuals hoarding gold at the start of the War would naturally have kept coins in the best condition and likely to be of full weight, and spent the more worn coins or exchanged them for banknotes.
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Canada
8476 Posts
 Posted 06/20/2021  10:06 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add DBM to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
At the time the Canadian Mint sovereigns were struck they were legal tender in Canada, but most if not all were sent to the UK.
Both Sovereigns and US Gold Eagles were legal tender in the early 20th century, they were mostly used for interbank transfers and international exchange.
"Dipping" is not considered cleaning...
-from PCGS website
Edited by DBM
06/20/2021 10:10 am
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Canada
673 Posts
 Posted 06/20/2021  2:59 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add aiglet7 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Here is a link to The Royal Mint site with interesting history of the Sovereign coin:-

https://www.royalmint.com/stories/c...-sovereigns/
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Australia
13734 Posts
 Posted 06/20/2021  8:54 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Sap to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
They certainly were used as money, in Britain and throughout the Empire, though of course they did not "circulate" to the extent that the coppers or even the silvers circulated. A gold sovereign could buy you an awful lot in the early 1900s - it was roughly 1 week's average wage, so you wouldn't normally take one to do your grocery shopping. They weren't used as often in Canada, due to the awkward legal tender face value they were given (Can$4.8666666667, or three for $14.60). The Canadian-minted ones were mainly used in interbank and international transactions.

That being said, they were used for higher transactions, and gold is a soft metal so wears away much faster than baser metals. Gold coins can be found in worn, circulated condition. You just don't normally see them for sale in coin ships, because they're traded as scrap gold for bullion value. Why would you pay bullion value for a VG-grade coin, when you can pay the exact same price for an identical coin in EF?

In the bulk coin collection I'm currently sorting through, I've found a 1904 Perth half-sovereign in what I would call Fine condition. It appears genuine, but the high points are worn smooth, leaving St George more of a silhouette. The "P" mintmark is barely visible. It's lost 0.04 grams, or 1% of its mass. If I sold it to a dealer, they'd give me bullion price (currently about AU$200), and on-sell it for bullion price.
Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise, you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite. - C. S. Lewis
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Canada
237 Posts
 Posted 06/24/2021  02:21 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add cdngmt to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Just a reminder while Canada did mint sovereigns 1908-1919; the Gold $5 & $10 coins minted from 1912 to 1914 were likely far more popular and would have been (likely) more preferentially circulated
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Australia
18740 Posts
 Posted 06/24/2021  03:47 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
As with Canada, Australian Sovereigns were mainly used for international payments.
In both cases due to their use for international payments, they did not see circulation, although in the Australian case, Sovereigns did in fact, see very limited circulation. They were also used for payment between banks.
That is why they are now usually found in higher grades only.

Canada does not have a domestic Half Sovereign circulation history; Canadian Half Sovereigns were not minted. Do patterns exist?

I am not so familiar with Canadian sovereign history, (and so I stand to be corrected), but I suspect that they were also redeemable for Canadian Notes, such that they were a backup to the Note issue, under the Gold Standard.
Due to awkwardness of the Canadian Sovereign in exchange for Canadian Notes, the Five Dollars and Ten Dollars gold coins were minted instead.

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The Australian Half Sovereign however, was minted in only 10% of the mintage of the Sovereign, in accordance for domestic public demand for them for in circulation. Thus, the Half Sovereign is now normally found in much lower condition than the Sovereign, as well as being scarcer.
They circulated extensively in Australia alongside Ten shilling Notes up until 1914, at the start of WW1. Nevertheless, the Ten shilling Note in circulation was far more common than the Half Sovereign.
From 1914 onwards they were, for the most part, replaced with Ten shilling Notes from that date, but Notes could be still be redeemed with Half sovereigns up until 1933, when Australia came off the Gold Standard.
Edited by sel_69l
06/24/2021 03:59 am
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Canada
615 Posts
 Posted 06/24/2021  06:10 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Silver101 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
That's all really interesting! My collector instinct is drawn to the things that are scarce. Strangely therefore, while I don't collect any gold at this point, I would say that I'm *more* drawn to worn sovereigns than to the EFs, AUs and MS. They seem more scarce and like they have an interesting story to tell.....
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Australia
18740 Posts
 Posted 06/24/2021  07:07 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
If you are drawn to things that are scarce, try to find a First or Second type Sydney Mint Half Sovereign, (1855 - 1870). They share a distinctive wreath design (non British), on the reverse, and saw extensive circulation as money. They are scarce, but not unobtainable. Up until 1866, they were alloyed with silver, not copper.
Edited by sel_69l
06/24/2021 08:04 am
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Canada
615 Posts
 Posted 06/24/2021  09:53 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Silver101 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@sel_69l - gorgeous...I'd never heard of those!
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Canada
8476 Posts
 Posted 06/24/2021  09:57 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add DBM to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Just a reminder while Canada did mint sovereigns 1908-1919; the Gold $5 & $10 coins minted from 1912 to 1914 were likely far more popular and would have been (likely) more preferentially circulated
Fortunately for collectors this was not true and thus 100 years later we had the release of the Bank of Canada Hoard.
"Dipping" is not considered cleaning...
-from PCGS website
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Australia
13734 Posts
 Posted 06/24/2021  6:20 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Sap to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Just a reminder while Canada did mint sovereigns 1908-1919; the Gold $5 & $10 coins minted from 1912 to 1914 were likely far more popular and would have been (likely) more preferentially circulated


Fortunately for collectors this was not true and thus 100 years later we had the release of the Bank of Canada Hoard.

This was the theory behind the creation of gold $5 and $10 coins - that they'd be just as popular as sovereigns were in the sterling area, for use as actual money within Canada, with the added convenience of round-dollar denominations. The Newfoundland gold $2 coins, as well as the American denominations, are clear precedents for the concept. Unfortunately, by the time the coins were issued, using gold as actual money was already on the decline, and the raw gold supply from the mines was dwindling so they would not have been able to produce usefully circulating quantities anyway. World War I and the resultant widespread hard money hoarding killed off any prospect of a resurgence in gold use.
Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise, you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite. - C. S. Lewis
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