Michael H. asks: What year did England stop making gold sovereigns for circulation? I know that the bullion coins were first made in 1957. Did sovereigns stop being minted in other countries as Canada and India at the same time also?
The last of the circulating gold Sovereigns were minted in:
- -England -1925
- -Canada (C on ground – Ottawa Mint) – 1919
- -India (I on ground-Bombay Mint) – 1918
- -Australia (M on ground – Melbourne Mint) – 1931
- -Australia (P on ground – Perth Mint) – 1931
- -Australia (S on ground – Sidney Mint) -1926
- -South Africa (SA on ground -Pretoria Mint) – 1932
England had already diluted their intrinsic money system by reducing the silver content of their legal tender coins in 1920 from .925 fine to .500 fine in order to pay their WW I war debts. Sovereigns quickly disappeared from normal circulation and instead became an international trade unit valued at the world price of gold. After WW II, though the world was still on a gold based system, it was slowly moving away from gold to a credit based system that was more flexible, especially in the light of having to rebuild so much of the world from the ravages of WW II.
The reissue of the sovereign gold coin in 1957 was a way of reestablishing some of the prestige from the past as well as to make the British Royal Mint a few bucks. When gold was released from its formal bounds of $35 a troy ounce in the 1970’s, the gold price soared and again people sought gold sovereigns as a safe method for holding gold. Gold Sovereigns are still being issued today as proofs and as a prestige item at a significant premium (see the Numismatic Links page for the British Royal Mint).