A new British record has been set with the first coin to be bought for over £1million. This article looks at this remarkable coin, and why it was valued so highly.


Edward VIII Sovereign Coin Front and back

Not the actual coin (source: Royal Collection Trust)


Why is this sovereign special?

An incredibly rare Edward VIII sovereign found itself a new home after being sold at auction by a private buyer here in the UK. It only has a face value of £1 but has now become one of the country’s most valuable coins.

What made this 22-carat gold sovereign coin so special, was that it was one of six that had been prepared for striking in January 1937, when Edward VIII (the current Queen’s uncle) was about to ascend to the throne. However, he abdicated in 1936, so the coin was never released to the public.

Four of the rare sovereign coins are in museums and institutions, including being on permanent display at The Royal Mint Experience, in Wales.

The last coin sold for a record £516,000 to a US collector back in 2014, but this coin has now returned back to the other side of the Atlantic. “When the opportunity came along, I felt I could not turn it down. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I’m aware that £1million is a lot of money for a coin, but if I did not secure it now, I’d not get the chance again,” the anonymous collector told the BBC.

Read more in ‘Product Spotlight – Gold Sovereigns’ here.



Breaking the trend

Another striking feature of this coin was that it illustrated Edward VIII’s apparent vanity. He was the first monarch to break a tradition going back centuries to King Charles II, by not alternating the way the monarch faced. Edward VIII insisted that he’d face left (like his father George V) because he believed that was his ‘best side’.

“The Edward VIII sovereign is part of numismatic legend – belonging to a series of coins that were never meant to exist, and were hidden from the public for decades,” (Matt Curtis, The Royal Mint).

Edward VIII’s successor, George VI also showed his left profile, keeping to tradition as if Edward had not broken the sequence.


Edward VIII Coin Portraits

(Source: BBC News)


This coin may have secured a new British record, but it’s far from breaking any world records. Some of the most valuable coins in the world have sold for a much higher price.


Read more in ‘The Most Expensive & Rare Coins Sold at Auction’ here.



Do you want to own your own part of history? Call Bleyer on 01769 618618 to talk through your physical gold and silver options. There are plenty of sovereigns from a variety of years available, and we have quite a selection of lovely proof sets sold at far lower premiums than their original buyers would have paid. If you are a collector it is definitely worth checking our selection of these items in Bleyer’s Rare and Collectables section. You can also email the team at sales@bleyer.co.uk.


Read more in ‘Benefits of Owning Proof Coins & Proof Sets’ here.


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