I had the unfortunate displeasure of advising a collector that four of his gold sovereigns were in fact fakes or counterfeits. I have uploaded images of these fake gold coins below so that other collectors can have a look. Remember, always remain vigilant when buying “raw” or uncertified gold sovereigns from the internet. I have also written a detailed article about counterfeit gold sovereigns, which you can read here.
A rather good counterfeit 1895 Melbourne Sovereign. Notice the badly-formed legend on the obverse.
A poor counterfeit gold sovereign, dated 1918-I. Notice the unnaturally thick rims on the reverse.
The above fake sovereign, dated 1926-SA, is a better example of a counterfeit. However, it has a smokey, smooth appearance that a lot of fake sovereigns have. If you look closely on the reverse, you can also see evidence of die cracks on the obverse design and unusual flatness in the strike of the obverse and reverse (which is unusual for South African sovereign issues).
Another example of a fake sovereign, dated 1928-SA. Its appearance is similar to the 1926-SA sovereign mentioned previously.
Yet another fake sovereign from 1928-SA. (Actually, it might have been made last year, for all we know.) Its smooth, bright-yellow appearance is unnatural, although this example has a far superior strike than the other three fake sovereigns mentioned above.
A fake silver “sovereign”, the first I've seen in silver. Note that the manufacturer has paired a George V obverse with a Victorian-dated reverse. King George V didn’t start appearing on coins until 1911.
An 1877 Sydney St George reverse sovereign - a date that does not exist. The "S" mintmark was stamped on both the obverse and reverse.
A counterfeit 1917 London sovereign on EBay in August 2015. If genuine, it would be worth over AU$30,000. The advertiser—a seller with 99.9% feedback and 11,598 points—failed to describe the coin as a counterfeit.
A very crude counterfeit of an 1897S sovereign. While it looks very fake, the use of the Jubilee head design on what should be a Veiled head sovereign makes this a particularly obvious fake. As of August 2015, this metal disc was available on EBay for sale at AU$599. In the description, the seller guarantees that “all our objects are genuine and authentic”.
A counterfeit 1911 Canadian sovereign listed on Ebay in February 2019. This is a rather obvious fake which is easily picked. Everything is wrong about it.