The Royal Mint has today (Thursday 4th February) announced they have acquired an incredibly rare, 500-year-old, gold Sovereign and the coin will be put up for auction early next month.

The Royal Mint’s historic coin experts have sourced a Type 2 Henry VII Sovereign, one of a select few in the world that are not held by a museum. The Henry VII Fine Gold Sovereign of Twenty Shillings is the earliest gold Sovereign a collector can own and there are only two examples in private ownership, making it a rare and historic addition to a collection. Struck more than 500 years ago, this exceptionally rare coin was created to assert the authority of the first Tudor king of England through its splendour and impressive weight and size. Bids will open at £950,000 for the sought-after coin.

Famous for making new coins, The Royal Mint successfully expanded into the sale of rare, historic coins two years ago. The company now helps customers track down rare examples to add to their collection, and authenticate coins on the secondary market using their unique experience in British coinage.

Rebecca Morgan, Divisional Director of Collector Services, comments: “We are delighted to have acquired such a rare coin which traces its history to the first Tudor king. The survival rate of these gold coins is miniscule, and this particular coin is the earliest example of a gold Sovereign that a collector can own. Our experts have checked and validated the coin, and there are just two left in private ownership – making this an incredibly exciting addition to a collection.

Rebecca Morgan with Henry VII sovereign

Rebecca Morgan with Henry VII sovereign

Rebecca continues: “The Royal Mint was originally based at The Tower of London, and this coin would have been hand struck on ‘Mint Street’ – which still stands today. What makes this coin even more fascinating is that we can trace its ownership back to the 1800’s. One notable owner of the coin was the world-renowned banker J. P. Morgan, who owned the coin until his death in 1913 with subsequent sale in 1915.

“We have seen many customers buying historic coins to bring purpose to their collection, either as an investment for the future or an heirloom to pass onto the next generation. Our Collector Services division is growing year on year, and with 1,100 years of expertise, the team here at The Royal Mint can help enrich and enhance any coin collection. We set the record for the sale of a British historic coin at £1 million last year – so who knows, perhaps this might beat the record.”

The gold Sovereign of Twenty Shillings was first introduced in the reign of the first Tudor King, Henry VII (1485-1509) 1489 over 500 years ago. The coin depicts the crowned Tudor King seated on a wooden throne, in robes, holding an orb and sceptre, the reverse shows the quartered shield of England upon a Tudor rose. Henry VII started the Tudor dynasty and was determined to cement his position. He was the father on the infamous Henry VIII, and grandfather to Elizabeth I.

The coin was acquired by The Royal Mint’s Collector Services division, that offers a range of services including authentication and valuation, accessories to care for and display treasured pieces, an unrivalled coin finder service, providing the safety and security of 1100 years of knowledge to go out into the secondary market and find the missing pieces from collections, help to fill the gaps or find that one rare piece a customer has always wanted.

Coin Specifications

  • This coin was commissioned by Henry VII to be produced from 28th October 1489, over 500 years ago
  • The Sovereign was the largest hammered gold coin of the Tudor period, approximately 40mm across in diameter, a millimetre thick, at a weight of approximately 15.3 grammes.
  • The coin was issued in gold of approximately 23 1/3 carat fineness (0.995 fine)
  • The coin has been assessed and graded by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation as “AU50” guaranteeing the state of preservation to be “almost uncirculated 50”
  • The chain of ownership of this coin can be traced back to the Victorian era through six, named collectors.

How to Bid

The online auction will take place on 4 March 2021 and those wishing to bid will need to pay a £20,000 deposit*. This is the first in a series of online auctions that will be held by The Royal Mint and there is no buyer’s premium. If you would like to take part in the auction as a bidder or observer, take note of the following steps and register your interest by midnight on Monday, 1 March 2021.

To register, visit

*Please note that the £20,000 deposit is fully refundable to bidders who are unsuccessful in acquiring the coin at auction.

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