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Coin collecting dates back to Ancient Greece when it was the custom to present people with coins

23/05/2024     Blog

Do you know what Emperor Augustus, King George II and Nicole Kidman all have in common? They all collected coins!

Coin collecting dates back to Ancient Greece when it was the custom to present people with coins as gifts on special occasions. During the Renaissance period coin collecting became an interest of the European Privileged classes especially Kings and Queens who started to collect these Ancient coins. Today coin collecting or numismatics to use its technical name can now be enjoyed by anyone. Perhaps you have inherited a coin collection or even dug up an ancient coin in the garden and this has sparked your interest in coins.

The first thing to do when starting a collection is to decide what type of coin interests you. Perhaps collect coins from a particular Royal Reign or commemorative event or a year that has significance to you.

Depending on the size of your budget you may wish to specialise in gold or silver coins. The rise in the gold price in recent years has made collecting Krugerrands and Sovereigns a very good investment.

The gold sovereign came into existence in 1489 under the reign of King Henry VIII. He ordered the Royal Mint to produce new money made of gold.

The sovereign as we know it today was introduced in 1817 and contains 0.2354 Troy oz or 7.98 grammes of pure 22 carat gold and measure 22.05 cm across. It was originally a circulated coin used as currency and had a face value of one pound or twenty shillings. They bear a design of Saint George and the Dragon and the monarch’s head and date to the other side together with initials of the designer Benedetto Pistrucci. Sovereigns were also struck at colonial mints initially in Australia and later in Canada, South Africa and India.

With the start of the First World War in 1914 the sovereign vanished from circulation in Britain and was replaced by paper money but is still produced by the Royal Mint. From 1979 the sovereign has been issued as a coin for the bullion market. 

Here at Sheffield Auction Gallery we hold regular coin sales with prices ranging from £20-30 up to several thousands of pound. Recently we had the pleasure of selling a rare 1841 Sovereign which achieved an amazing £7,700!

Another type of coin collecting that may interest you are the modern 50p commemorative coins which feature story book characters, alphabet, cathedrals, Tower of London and one of the most collected, Kew Gardens, which can fetch a few hundred pounds at auction. So always check your change carefully to see if you have one of these highly collectable coins.

As always, the condition of coins is very important and of course uncirculated coins carry a premium in their value. Certain years are scarcer than others. The 1933 George V penny is very rare and is worth tens of thousands of pounds as it is believed only 7 were issued. Old silver coins Pre 1920 contained 92.5% silver reducing to 50% from 1920-1947 so these coins always have a value in the bullion weight regardless of their condition as coins.

So if you have a box of coins hidden away in a cupboard you might have a rare penny hidden amongst them so do bring them down and we would be happy to let you know their value.