Crown gold

Last updated

Crown gold is a 22 karat (kt) gold alloy used in the crown coin introduced in England in 1526 (by Henry VIII). [1] In this alloy, the proportion of gold is 22 parts out of 24 (91.667% gold). Crown gold is appreciably less prone to wear than the softer 23 kt gold of earlier gold sovereigns — an important point for coins intended for everyday use in circulation.


Alloying metal

The alloying metal in England is traditionally restricted to copper. Copper is still used for the current British gold sovereign. An exception was for the gold sovereigns of 1887, when 1.25% silver, replacing the same weight of copper, was used to gain a better effigy of Queen Victoria for the Golden Jubilee of her reign.[ citation needed ] Elsewhere, both copper and silver have been used in varying proportions.

Circulating coins

In the United States until 1834, gold circulating coins were minted in 22 kt. crown gold using about 6% silver as well as copper. From 1834, the fineness of U.S. coin gold was decreased from the 22 kt crown gold standard to 0.8992 fine (21.58 kt); and in 1837 to 0.900 fine (21.60 kt exactly). This 90% gold–copper alloy continued in the U.S. from 1837 until gold coins were removed from circulation in the U.S. in 1933.[ citation needed ]

The South African Krugerrand, first produced in 1967, is produced in the traditional crown gold recipe of 22 kt gold, with the remainder copper, because it was originally intended to circulate as currency.

Bullion coins

Most current gold coinage is intended as bullion and not designed for circulation, so the requirement for a hard alloy is much less. Gold bullion coins are commonly 24 kt, 0.999, 0.9999, or even 0.99999 fine in the case of the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf. Some bullion coins have stayed with the traditional crown gold standard, including the British sovereign, [2] the Krugerrand, and American Gold Eagles. [3]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Coin</span> Small, flat and usually round piece of material used as money

A coin is a small object, usually round and flat, used primarily as a medium of exchange or legal tender. They are standardized in weight, and produced in large quantities at a mint in order to facilitate trade. They are most often issued by a government. Coins often have images, numerals, or text on them. The faces of coins or medals are sometimes called the obverse and the reverse, referring to the front and back sides, respectively. The obverse of a coin is commonly called heads, because it often depicts the head of a prominent person, and the reverse is known as tails.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Krugerrand</span> South African gold coin

The Krugerrand is a South African coin, first minted on 3 July 1967 to help market South African gold and produced by Rand Refinery and the South African Mint. The name is a compound of Paul Kruger, the former President of the South African Republic, and rand, the South African unit of currency. On the reverse side of the Krugerrand is a pronking springbok, South Africa's national animal.

Coins of the United States dollar - aside from those of the earlier Continental currency - were first minted in 1792. New coins have been produced annually and they comprise a significant aspect of the United States currency system. Circulating coins exist in denominations of 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, and $1.00. Also minted are bullion, including gold, silver and platinum, and commemorative coins. All of these are produced by the United States Mint. The coins are then sold to Federal Reserve Banks which in turn put coins into circulation and withdraw them as demanded by the United States economy.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Coins of the pound sterling</span> British current and historic coinage

The standard circulating coinage of the United Kingdom, British Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories is denominated in pennies and pounds sterling, and ranges in value from one penny sterling to two pounds. Since decimalisation, on 15 February 1971, the pound has been divided into 100 (new) pence. Before decimalisation, twelve pence made a shilling, and twenty shillings made a pound.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Crown (British coin)</span> British coin introduced in 1707

The British crown was a denomination of sterling coinage worth 14 of one pound, or 5 shillings, or 60 (old) pence. The crown was first issued during the reign of Edward VI, as part of the coinage of the Kingdom of England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sovereign (British coin)</span> British gold coin

The sovereign is a British gold coin with a nominal value of one pound sterling (£1) and contains 0.2354 troy oz of pure gold. Struck since 1817, it was originally a circulating coin that was accepted in Britain and elsewhere in the world; it is now a bullion coin and is sometimes mounted in jewellery. In addition, circulation strikes and proof examples are often collected for their numismatic value. In most recent years, it has borne the design of Saint George and the Dragon on the reverse; the initials of the designer, Benedetto Pistrucci, are visible to the right of the date.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Half sovereign</span> British gold coin

The half sovereign is a British gold coin denominated at one-half of a pound sterling. First issued in its present form in 1817, it has been struck by the Royal Mint in most years since 1980 as a collector's and bullion piece.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Royal Canadian Mint</span> Crown corporation that produces Canadian coins

The Royal Canadian Mint is the mint of Canada and a Crown corporation, operating under the Royal Canadian Mint Act. The shares of the Mint are held in trust for the Crown in right of Canada.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eagle (United States coin)</span> US $10 half-ounce gold coin minted 1795–1933

The eagle was a United States $10 gold coin issued by the United States Mint from 1795 to 1933.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Coinage Act of 1792</span> US legislation for a national currency and mint

The Coinage Act of 1792, passed by the United States Congress on April 2, 1792, created the United States dollar as the country's standard unit of money, established the United States Mint, and regulated the coinage of the United States. This act established the silver dollar as the unit of money in the United States, declared it to be lawful tender, and created a decimal system for U.S. currency.

The fineness of a precious metal object represents the weight of fine metal therein, in proportion to the total weight which includes alloying base metals and any impurities. Alloy metals are added to increase hardness and durability of coins and jewelry, alter colors, decrease the cost per weight, or avoid the cost of high-purity refinement. For example, copper is added to the precious metal silver to make a more durable alloy for use in coins, housewares and jewelry. Coin silver, which was used for making silver coins in the past, contains 90% silver and 10% copper, by mass. Sterling silver contains 92.5% silver and 7.5% of other metals, usually copper, by mass.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">American Gold Eagle</span> Gold bullion coin of the United States

The American Gold Eagle is an official gold bullion coin of the United States. Authorized under the Gold Bullion Coin Act of 1985, it was first released by the United States Mint in 1986. Because the term "eagle" also is the official United States designation for pre-1933 ten dollars gold coins, the weight of the bullion coin is typically used when describing American Gold Eagles to avoid confusion. This is particularly true with the 1/4-oz American Gold Eagle, which has a marked face value of ten dollars.

This glossary of numismatics is a list of definitions of terms and concepts relevant to numismatics and coin collecting, as well as sub-fields and related disciplines, with concise explanations for the beginner or professional.

The coins of the South African rand are part of the physical form of South Africa's currency, the South African rand.

British Pobjoy Mint was a privately held company-sector mint located in Surrey, England, which produces commemorative coins, medal, tokens and bullion. The mint also manufacturers circulating currency for some British Overseas Territories and sovereign countries including Sierra Leone and Vanuatu.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Group 11 element</span> Group of elements in the periodic table

Group 11, by modern IUPAC numbering, is a group of chemical elements in the periodic table, consisting of copper (Cu), silver (Ag), gold (Au), and roentgenium (Rg), although no chemical experiments have yet been carried out to confirm that roentgenium behaves like the heavier homologue to gold. Group 11 is also known as the coinage metals, due to their usage in minting coins—while the rise in metal prices mean that silver and gold are no longer used for circulating currency, remaining in use for bullion, copper remains a common metal in coins to date, either in the form of copper clad coinage or as part of the cupronickel alloy. They were most likely the first three elements discovered. Copper, silver, and gold all occur naturally in elemental form.

The coinage metals comprise those metallic chemical elements and alloys which have been used to mint coins. Historically, most coinage metals are from the three nonradioactive members of group 11 of the periodic table: copper, silver and gold. Copper is usually augmented with tin or other metals to form bronze. Gold, silver and bronze or copper were the principal coinage metals of the ancient world, the medieval period and into the late modern period when the diversity of coinage metals increased. Coins are often made from more than one metal, either using alloys, coatings (cladding/plating) or bimetallic configurations. While coins are primarily made from metal, some non-metallic materials have also been used.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Great Debasement</span> 16th-century English currency policy

The Great Debasement (1544–1551) was a currency debasement policy introduced in 1544 England under the order of Henry VIII which saw the amount of precious metal in gold and silver coins reduced and in some cases replaced entirely with cheaper base metals such as copper. Overspending by Henry VIII to pay for his lavish lifestyle and to fund foreign wars with France and Scotland are cited as reasons for the policy's introduction. The main aim of the policy was to increase revenue for the Crown at the cost of taxpayers through savings in currency production with less bullion being required to mint new coins. During debasement gold standards dropped from the previous standard of 23 karat to as low as 20 karat while silver was reduced from 92.5% sterling silver to just 25%. Revoked in 1551 by Edward VI, the policy's economic effects continued for many years until 1560 when all debased currency was removed from circulation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Three-cent silver</span> US three-cent coin (1851–1873)

The three-cent silver, also known as the three-cent piece in silver or trime, was struck by the Mint of the United States for circulation from 1851 to 1872, and as a proof coin in 1873. Designed by the Mint's chief engraver, James B. Longacre, it circulated well while other silver coinage was being hoarded and melted, but once that problem was addressed, became less used. It was abolished by Congress with the Coinage Act of 1873.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gold coin</span> Coin made from gold

A gold coin is a coin that is made mostly or entirely of gold. Most gold coins minted since 1800 are 90–92% gold (22‑karat), while most of today's gold bullion coins are pure gold, such as the Britannia, Canadian Maple Leaf, and American Buffalo. Alloyed gold coins, like the American Gold Eagle and South African Krugerrand, are typically 91.7% gold by weight, with the remainder being silver and copper.


  1. Dodd, Agnes (1911). History of Money in the British Empire & the United States. Archived from the original on 2023-11-11. Retrieved 2020-03-25.
  2. "Discover the Sovereign". The Royal Mint. Archived from the original on 2020-04-17. Retrieved 2020-03-25.
  3. "American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins". U.S. Mint. Archived from the original on 2020-03-25. Retrieved 2020-03-25.