2 - The King George V Sovereign 1911-1919 (Canada / India)
Turning to the Canadian mint of Ottawa which struck sovereigns for 7 years between 1911 and 1919 with no coins produced in 1912 and 1915. The first thing to note about Canadian sovereign is just how low the mintages were when compared to all other mints in operation at the time. The total number of George V sovereigns struck at Ottawa is just 573,186 a fraction that of any of even the next lowest mint Melbourne at @14 million over the same period.
1911-C King George V Ottawa Mint 'Canada' struck sovereign.
Although unlike Australian sovereigns it does appear that many Canadian coins escaped melting down but were not totally immune and those that remain today will be somewhat less then the mintage figures shown and considerable less in the case of the 1916-C.
The 1911-C is rated as scarce by Michael Marsh in the Jubilee edition of the Gold Sovereign yet can still be readily found by the collector in top grade for @£450-£500. It is to be noted that although not often quoted the 1911 also exists in the form of the excessively rare satin finish proof, which is rated R7 by Marsh and only 11 examples are known. One such example did sell as lot No 883 in the Bentley collection nearly a decade ago now for £10,400.
The 1917/18/19-C sovereigns can all still be found for @£450-£550 which for such low mintage coins is actually a bit of a steal really especially with bullion value at time of writing close to £330 a sovereign. The 1917 is rated as Rare by Marsh with its mere 58,875 mintage but occurs similarly to that of the 1919 with the 1918 being very slightly more common but don’t expect the price to vary too much on the trio. Look for high grade examples only with these prices its worth only putting the best examples in your collection.
The 1913-C is a very rare coin (Marsh R4) and is second only to the 1916-C in value expect to pay from @£1500 for an example in EF and @£3000 for one which is close to Aunc. The 1914-C is another rare year (Marsh R3) but appears about twice as often and prices reflect this with the collector needing to part with around @£1000-£1500 for one of these in similar grade. Both coins have become more difficult to source over the last decade and have seen price increases reflecting that.
This leaves us with the extremely rare 1916-C which is far rarer then even its meagre mintage of 6,119 suggests with no more then one or two examples becoming available globally each year normally within auctions. The going rate for these will be a minimum of £10,000 in today's market with the best examples exceeding £20,000, but with this coin it’s not the cost that will hold the collector back but finding one might. You will note that the mintage figure for the 1913-C (3,717) is not far off half that of the 1916-C yet I personally see one or two examples a year of the former but have yet to possess the illusive 1916. This does point heavily to the fact that the majority of 1916’s disappeared shortly after striking possible to the United States where they have long since been melted down. A word of caution on the 1916 because of its rarity there known fakes although not on the scale of the 1917 London the collector should take the normal precautions of known history, purchase from a reputable dealer and as these originate from the American continent they are quite often to be found PCGS / NGC slabbed and graded.
The internet explosion of the sovereign collector has taken its toll on all Canadian sovereign availability and given their low mintages they are only set to get scarcer as the years pass. Given the relative low cost of most they are certainly worthy of early inclusion in any collection, its difficult to see values dropping even if the cost of gold itself slips away as demand for these will remain.
King George V sovereign series 1911-1919
(Ottawa Mint Canada)
Total Number of sovereigns struck at the Ottawa Mint Canada for King George V = 573,186. The Mintmark 'C' denoting Canada appears centre of the exergue line on the reverse above date.
The Bombay Mint 'India' Struck Sovereigns for just 1918.
Before we end this month’s article I thought we could slip in the branch mint of Bombay India which struck sovereigns for just the one year 1918-I, well 8 months actually striking its first sovereign on 15th August and its last on 22nd April 1919, all sovereigns were dated 1918. The mintage figure of 1,294,372 does not make this a particularly scarce sovereign and should be readily available to the collector in grades of EF/Aunc for no more then £400-£450. Its quite amazing to note that even with its extremely short life the Bombay mint struck more sovereigns than the entire output of the Ottawa mint Canada 1908-1919.
King George V sovereign series 1918-I only (Bombay Mint India).
Total Number of sovereigns struck at the Bombay Mint India for King George V = 1,294,372. The Mintmark 'I' denoting India appears centre of the exergue line on the reverse above date