Help DeskValuations

Victorian shield type gold sovereign

This coin was sent in by Phil Varghese, who asked if I could let him have a valuation on it. The coin is a Victorian shield type gold sovereign, which is dated 1870 below the head of the queen.

A number of factors have to be taken into consideration when placing a figure on gold sovereigns. These include the condition, date, reign, type, variety and the price of gold on the international market.

Phil’s find is not a scarce date or type and after looking at the images I’d grade it no better than Fine. The day I checked the price of gold the spot price stood at £48 per gram. A gold sovereign weighs 7.98 grams, of which 7.32 grams is pure gold, so at £48 per gram a sovereign would be worth £351 as a piece of gold.

There is a programme on TV entitled Dickinson’s Real Deal, in which members of the general public bring things in and receive offers from dealers. Those wanting to sell have two options: accept the cash offer from a dealer or sell at auction. It’s not unusual for people to bring in items made of gold (a couple or several) such as coins, rings, bracelets bangles, necklaces, etc. The items will be sorted into different grades (9ct to 22ct) and then weighed in order to assess the melt value.

Even when items could be resold for more that their weight in gold, the dealer will invariably offer a figure below the melt value. For example, if the melt value is £1,000 the best price a dealer would offer on Dickinson’s Real Deal would be £900. The person who wants to sell the gold has no option but to accept the offer. Selling at auction is not an option, as the buyer has to pay a premium of 20%, so this is allowed for in the final bid. To be fair to the seller, he or she should have three options: sell to the dealer, sell via auction or, in the case of items made of gold, take it to a bullion dealer. The third option would in fact be the real deal.


Going back to Phil’s coin, it looks to be in no better than Fine condition and collectors can be choosey. However, the gold content is worth £351 (less a bit for the wear). It would be worth shopping around for the best price. It is also worth remembering that bullion dealers often work on a narrow profit margin and they sometimes offer higher prices for gold coins than dealers in antiques.

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