Counterfeit Detection

Great Britain 1911 Proof Gold 5 Sovereign

Published June 3, 2024 | 2 min read

By Numismatic Guaranty Company

In 1911 George V became king of the United Kingdom. To celebrate the coronation, the Royal Mint issued 2,812 proof sets, which were crowned by a proof 5 sovereign. Today, these coins are highly sought by those interested in British numismatics. Examples generally sell for over $10,000 at auction.

Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC) recently received a submission of a purported 1911 proof gold 5 sovereign. Unfortunately for the submitter, the coin is riddled with red flags that attest to its spurious nature.

For starters, take a look at the legend surrounding the portrait on the obverse. On the counterfeit, the letters are much too thick. The date on the reverse is off-center and the digits are too bold compared to a genuine example. There is also a lack of detail on the design’s high points, which is not consistent with a proof coin. For instance, the king’s hair on the obverse and St. George and his horse on the reverse are missing quite a bit of nuance.

In addition, the counterfeit has a cameo effect that is too strong. The coin is also made mostly of brass instead of gold, which means it lacks both numismatic value and the intrinsic value of the metal.

If you want to rest assured that your coin is genuine, remember that NGC backs its determinations of grade and authenticity with the NGC Guarantee.

A version of this article appears in the July 2024 issue of The Numismatist (