British gold coins were minted as far back as 1489 when Henry VII issued the first 20 shilling gold coin, with his portrait on it. The minting was stopped when James I Ascended the throne in 1603.
The gold coin was replaced by guineas and unites from 1604 to 1816 but eventually returned during the reign of Gorge III in 1817, with his portrait on the coin. From the time of George up to the present time is considered as the modern sovereigns.
People who collect coins mostly collect the modern sovereigns, for the early sovereign coin are very expensive for most people to buy. If you are fond of collecting coins here is some information on how you could categorized your coin collection.
Collecting by reverse design. When you collect this type of coin it won t cost you much compare to the others, most gold sovereign has a reverse design of St. George killing a dragon. But there is a time through the years that a shield reverse was used, for the royalties have different kinds of shields.
George IV, William IV, and Victoria used different kinds of shields on their coins. While Elizabeth II only has a shield reverse in two years, the time when it was the 500th anniversary of the sovereign. In 2005 she used a different design of St George slaying a dragon on the reverse design.
Collecting by mint mark. Mint mark is a tiny letter that can be found either above the date or beneath the portrait. This mark indicated on where the coin was made. You ll find letters M, S, C, I, P, and SA. These letters stands for Melbourne, Sydney, Ottawa Canada, Bombay India, Perth, and Pretoria South Africa. From 1932 all sovereign are made in London, so if you cannot see any letter then that means it is made in London.
Collecting by date. This is the most expensive way of collecting coins, for there is some coin in some years that are expensive. This collection will include every year and every mint mark. It is expensive because some years produce rare coin such as the early sovereign coins. The older the sovereign coin the more expensive it becomes. There are only few collectors that can afford and have achieved this type of collecting.
Collecting by portrait variations. There are more than few different portraits on gold royalties during their reign. If you are fond of collecting British gold coins then this is also a good way of collecting. There are 4 portrait of Victoria, George VI had 1, and George V has 2, while Elizabeth has 5.
Collecting by monarch. This is the basic way of collecting sovereign coin, for it is within the resources of most collectors. Since royalties always had their portrait when minting a coin so it is easier to collect them.
British gold coins especially for the numismatic are fascinating and beautiful, but there are some of the coins are expensive especially those early sovereign. Also remember that generally speaking the older the coin the larger its value is.