4 - The King George V Sovereign 1916-1932 (Perth / Pretoria)
(Originally written in 2008 this article is currently being revised)
We will complete the George V series with the conclusion of Perth 1916-1931 and our one last remaining branch mint that of Pretoria South Africa which struck sovereigns 1923-1932.
For those looking to put together a date series the Perth mint offers the most cost effective and complete collection. Although Perth ended production in 1931 they did produce sovereigns for all previous years of George V’s reign and you will just be missing the 1932 which was only Struck at Pretoria. The first thing to note is although some Perth sovereigns from 1916 onwards are classified as common they are not as plentiful as earlier coins and the date range 1916-1924 is where we find most of our customers have difficulty even when looking for non mint specific date runs. 1916 / 17 / 18 / 20 / 22 / 23 should be available from sovereign dealers without too much trouble but you maybe asked to pay just a little more then earlier dates say @10% which reflects the difficulty in replacing them. 1919-P is becoming a progressively more elusive coin in all mints with Melbourne rare, Sydney borderline scarce leaving just the Perth with its apparent quite healthy mintage of just under 3 million the most often used to complete collections. The 1920-P / 21-P can be classified similarly as they provide the only cost effective coins to cover the dates for the majority of collectors, so don’t be afraid to pay just a little more to secure nice examples but not excessively so.
The 1924-P is a scarce coin and is on par with its Melbourne counterpart so not easy to find, with the 1925-P being around similar scarcity and price. 1926-P provides the only true Rarity of the Perth series despite its 1,313,578 mintage figure. It’s certainly a coin to get the grading right on with half your money at stake. 1927-P is another scarce if not rare coin second in the series only to the 1926-P. 1928-P is classified at the lower end of scarce. it actually provides excellent value for money as there are many sovereigns easier to find at higher cost. 1929 / 30 / 31-P can all be found if with a little diligence with 1929-P most likely to command the slightly higher figure, these 3 dates appear to be out numbered by something like 10-1 by their South African counterparts so again provide excellent value for money.
Turning our attention to the last 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 just 406 currency sovereigns were struck bearing that date. 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 is a genuine extremely rare coin. There were proof sovereigns struck for this year which were issued in commemorative proof sets. 1924-SA sees another extremely rare sovereign with a mintage 2660 and we have sold just the one example to date and would expect one of these to sell for similar to that of the 1923-SA. One word of caution regarding the 1923-SA is that there are proof coins which have lost or been made to lose their proof like appearance and care should be taken when purchasing and as ever our advice is to buy from a reputable dealer.
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.
As we wind up the series of George V there are a couple of things to note, the date range 1916-1924 will 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 in the scarce or even rare category.