Since the introduction of the modern day gold sovereign in 1817, the size and specification has remained constant ever since.
It was the Coin Act of 1816 which set the specification of the gold sovereign. This included the gold content, guaranteed to four decimal places, along with the overall weight and its diameter. Weighing-in at 7.98805g, a gold sovereign was considered legal tender providing it didn’t fall below the legal minimum weight of 7.93787g. Old and worn coins that failed to meet this criteria were melted down and re-coined.
Diameter and thickness of a full gold sovereign
The size of a gold sovereign is as follows:
- Diameter: 22.05mm
- Thickness: 1.00 to 1.69mm
Whilst it’s pretty easy to measure the diameter of a sovereign, its thickness is a little harder to specify. Victorian shield sovereigns were struck with a beautiful relief (the raised detail), whereas our modern versions have a much lower relief detail. According to the Royal Mint, the thickness of a modern sovereign is 1.69mm. However at their lowest points the thickness can drop down to around a millimeter. Source: The Royal Mint 2013 Bullion Specification