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Veiled head sovereign rarities, ranked from top to bottom

Like the Edward VII sovereign series, the veiled head (or old head) sovereigns are popular, owing to their affordability and general availability. They are also the last of the Victorian sovereigns, and also one of the few 19th century sovereigns available for under £500 in Mint State.

Veiled head sovereignAn 1893 Sydney veiled head sovereign graded PCGS MS63.

The key date to the series is officially the 1899 Perth sovereign, with Mint State examples selling for over £1,000, and gem pieces selling closer to five figures. (In fact, the example from the Quartermaster Collection, which graded PCGS MS65, sold for almost £22,000 in 2017.) I suspect that its popularity arises from its status as the Perth Mint’s first sovereign, as well as its comparatively low 694,937 mintage. However, a perusal of the PCGS and NGC population reports shows that the coin is in fact not the rarest date of the series. Personally, I don’t believe it deserves to be even in the top ten.

That honour belongs to mostly London and Sydney sovereigns, with also the 1893 Melbourne sovereign being very scarce in Mint State. In fact, the 1893 Sydney and Melbourne sovereigns take spots one and two, respectively, followed by a few London issues, and then the well-known Sydney triad of 1898, 1897, and 1896. These three dates in particularly have always been rated by collectors, with examples in MS62 or better particularly difficult to obtain. They are also comparatively well-priced compared to the “key” 1899 Perth sovereign.

Click here to see our full range of Veiled head sovereigns.

A collector can build a comprehensive set in AU grade for a little over the gold price, while a mint state set is a realistic goal for collectors prepared to put a few years into acquiring choice pieces.

We have omitted from the table below the 1893 proof sovereigns from London. Proof sovereigns are also available from Melbourne each year, but these are rare VIP issues with mintages of fewer than 5, in most instances.


Rank Date MM
1 1893-S Sov S-3877 Old Head
2 1893-M Sov S-3875 Old Head
3 1895 Sov S-3874
4 1896 Sov S-3874
5 1894 Sov S-3874
6 1898-S Sov S-3877
7 1897-S Sov S-3877
8 1896-S Sov S-3877
9 1893 Sov S-3874
10 1898 Sov S-3874
11 1900-S Sov S-3877
12 1901 Sov S-3874
13 1900-P Sov S-3876
14 1899-P Sov S-3876
15 1894-S Sov S-3877
16 1895-S Sov S-3877
17 1901-S Sov S-3877
18 1894-M Sov S-3875
19 1899-S Sov S-3877
20 1901-P Sov S-3876
21 1896-M Sov S-3875
22 1895-M Sov S-3875
23 1901-M Sov S-3875
24 1898-M Sov S-3875
25 1899 Sov S-3874
26 1900-M Sov S-3875
27 1899-M Sov S-3875
28 1897-M Sov S-3875
29 1900 Sov S-3874

Related articles:

Sovereign rarities from George V, ranked by rarity

Sovereign rarities from Edward VII, ranked by rarity

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