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The Caranett Collection of gold sovereigns

On the 17th May 2020, one of the oldest and most comprehensive sets of sovereigns on the PCGS Set Registry sold under the hammer in Texas, United States. Called the Caranett Collection, this award-winning set comprised an almost complete representation of every sovereign from every mint from 1872 onward. Included in the set were key rarities like the very rare currency issue South African sovereign of 1923, the classic 1916C sovereign, a 1921M sovereign, and a 1923S sovereign, all in high grade. The 1923 South African sovereign is of particular note, being the highest-graded example of this much underrated rarity. It sold for a record US$52,800 (AU$82,500/£43,613), and was the highest-value item in the set.

Being an online auction, I was surprised how strong the results were generally. The rarities sold well, of course, but the more “common” coins sold for record prices too. Here are some (but not all) of the most surprising results:

  • 1931SA Sovereign MS65 US$2,040 (AU$3,188/£1,685)

  • 1905M Sovereign MS64 US$4,800 (AU$7,500/£3,965)

  • 1925SA Sovereign MS66 US$2,520 (AU$3,938/£2,082)

  • 1917S Sovereign MS66 US$4,800 (AU$7,500/£3,965)

  • 1918S Sovereign MS66 US$2,400 (AU$2,040/£1,685)

  • 1925 London Sovereign MS66 US$2,400 (AU$3,750/£1,982)

  • 1898M Sovereign MS65 US$6,600 (AU$10,313/£5,452)

It is clear from these results that collectors are seeking quality, regardless of the rarity of the date or mintmark. Any coin in very high grade, especially in the equal or single-finest grade, was bid up enthusiastically.

1923 SA sovereign

The record-breaking 1923 South African currency-issue soveriegn in PCGS MS66. Image courtesy of PCGS.

The set was made up of mostly PCGS-graded coins, with only 9% of the coins being certified by NGC. However, where there was an NGC-graded coin, there was, in several instances, a PCGS-graded coin in the same or similar grade. Having coins graded by both grading services go up for sale at the same auction venue allows for some interesting observations about how the grading service affects the sales performance of the coin.

Coin description and grade



1911C Sovereign MS65 USD $2,880 USD $1,800
1915S Half Sovereign PCGS MS64+ vs NGC MS65 $456 $456
1900 Half Sovereign MS64 $432 $312
1902 Half Sovereign PCGS MS62 vs NGC MS63 $300 $300
1904 Half Sovereign MS63 $312 $300
1909 Half Sovereign PCGS MS63 vs NGC MS64 $312 $300
1916 Sovereign MS65 $660 $1,260

In all but one case, the PCGS-graded coin sold better than the equivalent NGC-graded coin. In some cases, the PCGS-graded coin sold for more than an NGC-graded coin in higher grade. In one case, the NGC-graded coin sold for a large premium over the PCGS-graded coin in the same grade. 

1899P Sovereign PCGS MS63

An 1899 Perth sovereign in PCGS MS63. Image courtesy of PCGS.

I never had the pleasure of meeting the owner of the Caranett Collection, but I have admired the set from afar for as long as it has been on the Set Registry. I understand that many of the best coins sold into a specialist collection of a connoisseur British collector, so it is good to hear that at least some of the coins will be residing together in their new home in the United Kingdom.

Number of coins 284
Most valuable coin 1923 South African Sovereign PCGS MS66 USD$52,800
Total value of collection in USD $698,780
Total value of collection in AUD $1,091,798
Total value of collection in GBP £577,168
Average sovereign value USD$2,792
Average half sovereign value USD$789
Average sovereign grade 63.6
Average half sovereign grade 63.9

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