ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND – So what is the collective noun for gold sovereigns? What word should we use to describe a collection of Britain’s benchmark gold coin?
I wondered this aloud in Friday’s note where we took a look at the ongoing scarcity of gold and silver bullion in the country. Considering the long history of the sovereign coin in this country as both a currency and investment product, it feels like there should be a distinct collective noun for a gathering of them. And I must say, the readership has plenty of suggestions!
When I asked you last week if you had any candidates for the title in mind, I wasn’t expecting such an overwhelming response. I’ve received some brilliant ideas in my inbox in the past few days – thank you for them all.
Some folks went with a literal interpretation – the container you would hold a hoard of sovereigns in. The Royal Mint itself sells large orders of sovereigns in tubes, and so one reader thought “tube” would be fitting. Similarly came suggestions of a “bag”, “purse”, “chest” and “vault” of sovereigns.
Other readers took the more imaginative route – here’s just a few of them…
Points also to the chap who suggested the wonderfully straightforward “shed-load”.
I think the regally themed words would be a good fit. One reader made an observation on the dominance of Queens on sovereigns over Kings which I found very interesting:
The first is a “Monarch of Sovereigns”. I had considered the terms a “King of” or a “Queen of” but thought better of it as it would inevitably be classed by some as sexist. Interesting to note that in the era of the modern sovereign coin from 1817 that for 65% of the time there has been a queen on the throne, so the term “Queen of” is currently more relevant than “King of”.
The second is an “Aurum of Sovereigns”, which I consider to be a better term as it not only alludes to its composition but is also a more elegant word with Latin origins.
“A queen of sovereigns” has a nice ring to it – almost like a new playing card suit.
One reader had a rather more nuanced suggestion:
An “expropriation”, surely, since the word “sovereign” derives from the Old French “soverain” and it was the Normans who first expropriated the land from the common man. Our sovereigns have been indulging in this wheeze ever since; the Crown Estate taking so rich a proportion of the fees arising from offshore-wind-site sales is a very topical case in point. And let’s not forget how the US govt expropriated their citizens of their coinage back in the day – something “sovereign” states around the world would no doubt like one day to do again either to the citizenry’s bullion or BTC or both. (I do appreciate that mitigating against this is the fact that the gold sovereign should protect us from the expropriation of the printing press. But this works only up to the point where it is decreed forfeit to the government, so the expropriation risk is overriding.)
While I think I understand what this reader is getting at, I’m not sure this word is a good fit. If I said I’d acquired “an expropriation of sovereigns”, somebody might think I’d nicked them…
That said, the reader is right to be wary of the actions of the state when it comes to their wealth. Considering the ease with which lockdowns have been enforced and accepted, how hard would an expropriation of wealth be..? A topic for another letter perhaps…
I think my favourite of your suggestions is a splendour of sovereigns. It just sounds right to me – and matches the feeling you get seeing a stack of them in your possession. Given the interest we have in gold here at Southbank Investment Research, I suspect I’ll have plenty of opportunities to use it in future – thank you!
More to come,
Editor, Capital & Conflict
Category: Investing in Gold