4 - The King George V Sovereign 1916-1932 (Perth / Pretoria)
We covered the period 1911-1924 Perth in Part 3, all should be relatively easy to find in top grade and be inexpensive, with the exception of the 1921-P / 24-P which will prove a little more expensive. We will complete the George V series with the 7th and final mint to produce sovereigns the branch mint of Pretoria South Africa which struck sovereigns 1923-1932.
For those wishing to put together the entire date run of George V sovereigns, Perth almost provides the perfect answer, however its unbroken striking record through this period is punctuated at 1931. That is not to say its all plain sailing, 1925-1928-P will all provide the collector with varying degrees of difficulty, the 1925-P is an allusive coin the mintage of 1,837,901 is dwarfed but that of every other mint working at the time including the new Pretoria mint and even Sydney. In fact over 20 million sovereigns were produced for 1925 including the later London re-strikes under George VI, so the year itself is very common but the 1925P not so. Although not quite at the level of some other Australian mint 1920's sovereigns the collector should still expect to pay north of £600 for a reasonable example with grades around uncirculated maybe nearer to £800.
1925-P King George V Perth struck sovereign (AUNC).
1926-P provides the only true Rarity of the Perth series despite its 1,313,578 mintage figure one of these will set the collector back a minimum of £1000 for a coin in around Very Fine to nearer £2000-£2500 for anything approaching the extremely fine or near uncalculated category, and is certainly the rarest of all standard struck Perth sovereigns including that of the 1899 1st year issue Victoria Widow head coin which comes 2nd to the 1926-P. The 1927-P is another scarce if not rare coin second in the series only to the 1926-P, expect to pay @£700-£800 for grades of EF-AUNC with the 1928-P which is classified at the lower end of scarce slightly less. Both the 1927/8-P provide excellent value for money for those looking for availability 'mintage' over price.
1929-P King George V 'Small Head' Perth struck sovereign (AUNC).
The last sovereigns struck at Perth were the 1929 / 30 / 31-P small head variety. All can be found if with a little diligence for @£400-£500 with 1929-P most likely to command the upper figure, these 3 years appear to be out numbered by something like 10-1 by their South African counterparts so again provide excellent value for money.
The gates of the South African Pretoria branch Mint - Opened New Years Day 1923.
Turning our attention to the last (7th) remaining branch mint of Pretoria South Africa which officially opened on New Years day 1923. Due to several problems implementing machinery at the new mint and the actual amount of gold mined just 406 currency sovereigns were struck bearing that date according to Marsh, however references vary from as few as 64 to 719. Marsh has these classified as R6 with only a handful of examples said to exist and this is very hard to argue with the 1923-SA as a genuine extremely rare coin with valuations to match £10,000 may secure you one of these. There were also 655 proof sovereigns struck for this year which were issued in commemorative proof sets and these can be found for somewhat kinder price @£2500-£3500. One word of caution regarding the 1923-SA is that there are proof coins which have lost or been made to loose their proof like appearance and this is not helped by both versions being milled, care should be taken when purchasing and as ever our advice is to buy from a reputable dealer.
1924-SA King George V 'Extremely Rare' Pretoria struck sovereign.
1924-SA sees another extremely rare sovereign with a mintage 2660 again according to Marsh but estimates vary up to 3184 and we have sold just the one example to date and would expect one of these to sell for similar price to that of the 1923-SA @£5000-£10,000 depending on grade.
With regards the remainder of the Pretoria series 1925-1931SA can all be considered as common and none should provide the collector with any difficulty at small premiums over the intrinsic gold value. 1932-SA is not a rare coin but with a mintage of just over 1 million compared to 10 million for 1930-SA and a whopping 16 million for 1927-SA it doesn’t appear as often and as such be prepared to pay @10%-15% for a nice Sharpe example. The one thing about the 1932-SA is that it is the only coin which can fill the 1932 date slot and as such will always remain in demand, so certainly another coin to note.
1932-SA King George V 'Last Branch Mint Sovereign' Pretoria struck sovereign.
As we wind up the series of George V there are a couple of things to note, the date range 1916-1924 is not going to get any easier to collect and many of these sovereigns not already classified as scarce or rare are likely to become so in the future. Australian sovereigns in particular see some very low mintages from 1919 onwards and although some are extremely rare there are still a few available at quite affordable prices. The more prevalent sovereign collectors become the more likely a few more of these will be joining coins such as the 1919-M/1921-P in the scarce or even rare category.