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Half Sovereigns - General Information

1544 or 1817?

Although the sovereign came into being in 1489 for Henry VII, half sovereigns were not produced until the reign of Henry VIII in 1544. The history of sovereigns and half sovereigns then follow a similar course.
The modern half sovereign commenced in 1817 under George III.

A Real Coin

Sovereign and halves were real circulating coins until the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. At about this time, most countries in the world reduced or stopped production of gold coins for circulation, and switched to a "token" coinage.

Out of Production

By 1933, almost every country had stopped gold coin production, and it did not restart until about 1960. Even now, there are no countries where any gold coins regularly circulate as part of the coinage system.
The last half sovereign to be issued for circulation was in 1926

Half Sovereign Production Restarted

The production of sovereigns, as bullion coins, restarted in 1957, and in 1982, ordinary bullion half sovereigns were produced after a break of 56 years.

Proofs

From 1980, the Royal Mint started to produce special edition proof versions for collectors, and these are now likely to be produced every year.

2000 & The Third Millennium

After a break of 18 years since 1982, the Royal Mint has again started production of "ordinary" sovereigns in 2000, and it is possible that they too will be produced in following years.
We give below a table showing the technical specifications of modern half sovereigns.

Technical Specifications

For all modern half sovereigns, i.e. from 1817

Prices & Availability

Diameter 19.30 mm.
Weight 3.99 grams.
Alloy (Carats) 22
Fineness (millesimal)916.6
Actual Gold Content (Grams)3.6575
Actual Gold Content (Troy Ounces)0.1177

More Information About Half Sovereigns

We have a complete list of half sovereign dates from 1817 to date, listing which were issued, and which not issued.

We have a complete website www.goldsovereigns.co.uk, dedicated to Gold Sovereigns, where you will find a more detailed history of gold sovereigns, a list of dates which do and don't exist, and hundreds of sovereigns for sale arranged by date and type.

Obverse of 1817 Half Sovereign

The First Modern Half Sovereign

Half Sovereign Dates List

Bullion Coin Selector Page

 


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