Gold Sovereign « Victoria DEI GRATIA » 1918.

The sovereign 1918 is a British gold coin minted in London, also struck at the Australian, Canadian and India branch mints in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney, Bombay and Ottawa. Almost 14 million gold sovereign coins were struck this year. Minted under the reign of Goerges V, the 1918 King George V Large Head Gold Sovereigns, (originally a circulating coin, now a bullion coin) are now VAT free in UK and provided they were minted after 1817 and a legal tender coin, free from Capital Gains Tax for UK residents. They also are VAT free in European Union, the sovereigns meeting the criteria established in Article 344(1), point (2) of Council Directive 2006/112/EC of 28 November 2006 (special scheme for investment gold).

Struck at the Bombay mint for one year only, India Mint Sovereigns are a scarce and popular example of the George V design of British Sovereigns. These unique gold coins are often found in choice Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) condition. Ideal for set collections!

COttawa, Canada106,570
IBombay, India1,294,372
MMelbourne, Australia4,809,493
PPerth, Australia3,812,884
SSydney, Australia3,716,000
1918 Sovereigns Mintage
Diameter (mm)Weight (gr)Thickness (mm)
22,05 mmGross weight: 7,99 Gr
Fine Gold: 7,32 Gr – 0.2354 troy ounce.
1,52 mm
Edge and Orientation.Millesimal fineness.Composition.
➣ Reeded / Milled
➣ Medal alignment ↑
22 carats; 917 ‰91.67% gold and 8.33% Copper.
Mint and MintmarkFinancial FeaturesMintage.
« The Royal Mint » South Africa, India , Canada, and Australia mints.Type: bullion coin.
Production Years: 1817–present.
Legal tender in the United Kingdom, value £1 = 20 shillings.
1918 with 13.739.319 bullion coins.
Specifications for the Gold Sovereign 1918.
Reverse: Portrait by Edgar Bertram Mackennal. Matte background with matte bust of King George V facing left. Legend  GEORGIVS V D.G.BRITT:OMN:REX F.D.IND:IMP Translated from Latin: George the Fifth, by the Grace of God, King of all the Britains, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India.
Obverse:St George on horseback slaying the dragon right; 1918 and B.P. in exergue.

How to grade a Sovereign 1918.

Discerning collectors examining a large Head Georges V sovereign will check various main points when grading this obverse:

  • The peaks of the eyebrow and upper cheek;
  • The fine detail in his moustache;
  • The broad area of hair above the ear & towards the fringe;
  • The neck muscle between his ear and the base of his neck.
  • Weakness will show in a lack of definition of the hair including beard and moustache;
  • The top of the ear which would show a lack of sharpness on a weak strike;
  • As always, the rims and fields;

When collectors examine a sovereign with the St George reverse, there are a certain number of points which are examined closely for strike & wear. From top to bottom, they are:

  • The crest of St George’s helmet;
  • St George’s chest, together with the strap & pin fastening his cloak;
  • The bridle as it crosses the horse’s neck;
  • The muscle separation in St George’s upper thigh;
  • The horse’s forequarters & rump;
  • The “bloodline” in the sword;
  • The upper band across St George’s boot;
  • The dragon’s torso below its neck.

A unique wartime measures.

During World War I, as a unique and temporary wartime measure, gold sovereigns were struck in India at the Bombay mint. Prior to this time and afterward, the Bombay mint only produced the gold blanks upon which sovereigns were struck at other British mints.

Featuring the distinctive “I” mint mark on the reverse, just below the horse’s hooves on the ground line and just above the date, these are the only British Gold Sovereigns struck in Britain’s largest and most important colony.

Although the striking took place between August 15, 1918 and April 22, 1919, all coins struck bear the 1918 date. A total of 1,295,000 coins were struck, but most have been lost to the ravages of time, making this an especially scarce issue.

By Alexandre Laurent

Alexandre Laurentl is working in the jewelry and investment gold since 2002. Alexandre graduated from The Normandy School of Business and from the University of Perpignan a Bachelor of economics in 1995.

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