Jul 052016
 

Half sovereigns were produced by all three colonial branches of the Royal Mint opened in Australia during the 19th century. The very first issue, dated 1855, and the very last issue, dated 1918, represent two of the most valuable and sought-after gold coins in the history of Australian-made coinage.

In its inaugural year, the Sydney Mint struck just 21,000 half sovereigns. Each coin bore the distinctive ‘colonial’ reverse featuring St Edward’s crown, a laurel wreath and the word AUSTRALIA.

But few of these 1855 Sydney-made coins have survived in good condition, which fuels enormous interest on the rare occasions one comes to market.

By the time half sovereigns were struck in Perth, the Australian branch mints had permission to strike Imperial versions identical to those made in London – with the addition of distinguishing mintmarks.

The ultimate half sovereign year-date is the subject of much investigation. Records suggest The Perth Mint did not strike half sovereigns during 1918, but used dies of that year to strike 113,572 coins in 1919 and a further 106,416 in 1920.

Given 10 shilling notes had recently replaced half sovereigns, it’s likely they were struck for export where the majority was melted down. Evidence of surviving 1918 dates did not come to light until the 1970s and today it is estimated that between 200 and 300 pieces may have escaped destruction.

Australia Half Sovereign 2016 Gold Proof Coin

This modern 22-carat gold tribute embodies the spirit of Australia’s 1855 ‘S’ and 1918 ‘P’ half sovereigns. Struck by The Perth Mint in stunning proof quality to traditional specifications, its reverse combines key historical design elements first seen on Sydney coins of 1855 with a ‘P’ mintmark.

In keeping with the extreme rarity of its historic antecedents, no more than 1,500 of these coins will be released, each in a beautiful timber case befitting its significance as a reflection of Australia’s long association with half sovereign production.

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May 162016
 

With the discovery of payable gold in 1851, Australia needed a way in which to convert its new-found riches into durable and portable wealth for colonial citizens. The first step in this journey was the establishment of a local mint.

Amid hot competition between New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia, the former emerged triumphant in its bid to host the first overseas branch of the Royal Mint. The enabling legislation passed the British Parliament in 1853 and the Sydney Mint opened in the south wing of the old ‘Rum’ hospital on 14 May 1855.

Official backing to strike sovereign and half-sovereign gold coins in Australia came with major provisos. Initially at least, the coins would be legal tender only in the colonies. The colonial versions would also bear a non-standard design in order to prevent damaging the status of London-made coins should anything go wrong. In other words, the Sydney Mint was going to have to prove itself.

The very first Sydney sovereign was struck on 23 June 1855. Its reverse was akin to William Wyon’s design for British shillings – in essence an open wreath below a crown. Created by his eldest son, Leonard Charles Wyon, the face of the Sydney Type I sovereign, however, possessed several unique characteristics that made it unmistakably ‘Australian’.

SYDNEY MINT above the crown announced unequivocally that this was not a London-made coin. As if the point needed further emphasis, the inscription AUSTRALIA appeared under the crown! Unlike its renowned British counterpart, which displayed no denomination at all, the Type I also included ONE SOVEREIGN (or ONE HALF SOVERIGN) at the foot of the design.

2016GoldSovereign

Struck by The Perth Mint, the Australian Sovereign 2016 Gold Proof Coin pays tribute to the first colonial-made sovereign in the British Empire.

Customising the original Sydney sovereign reverse to read PERTH MINT, our modern adaptation pays tribute to this important part of Australia’s numismatic history. Like the original coin, it is struck from 91.67% pure gold (22-carat) and weighs 7.9881 grams. With its shiny proof quality finish, strict limited mintage of 1,500, and superb presentation packaging, the annual release for 2016 is a prestigious addition to any coin collection.

As it turned out, British concerns about the new Sydney Mint’s ability to produce sovereigns to their exactingly high standards were unfounded. The Australian-made coins have never been faulted, and by 1871 the Sydney Mint was permitted to strike the same design as the Royal Mint. The same rule applied to the Melbourne and Perth branches (opened in 1872 and 1899 respectively), the latter continuing the tradition for supreme quality to this day.

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May 032016
 

May’s new product bulletin reveals stunning new additions to our 2016 coin program. For full details of each coin releases, check out this electronic bulletin and/or the links below:

A true Aussie icon, the Australian Koala is now available in the large 1 kilo proof format. There’s only 500 in the mintage, so be quick!

The same limit applies to Kimberley Sunrise, the title of an extraordinarily beautiful gold coin featuring a genuine fine white diamond in its design.

Paying tribute to the historic Sydney Type I, our 2016 Australia Sovereign gold proof coin is a true classic of modern Australian numismatics.

Meanwhile, our world-renowned Australian Kookaburra now comes in outstanding 1oz and 5oz ‘high relief’ versions.

Exceptionally popular, the Australian Stock Horse 1oz silver coin is back in 2016 with great new design.

The Cubs series continues with a reverse dedicated to the third largest feline in the world – the jaguar.

And what could be more appropriate for Mother’s Day than our spectacular Language of Love coin made from 2oz of silver?

Also available this month, the exclusive Gold Pressed Latinum Slip is an amazing acquisition for Star Trek fans on the look-out for unique memorabilia.

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Jul 272015
 

In line with our earlier announcement, the 2015 Australia Sovereign and Half Sovereign 22-carat gold proof coins were withdrawn from sale on Friday 17 July. While each release originally had a permitted maximum mintage of 1,500 coins, the closure of sales means the following declared (final) mintage figures apply.

2015AusSov Australia Sovereign
2015 Gold Proof Coin

Declared Mintage: 1,398
2015HalfAusSov Australia Half Sovereign
2015 Gold Proof Coin

Declared Mintage: 958

SpacerSee our Mintage Policy / Glossary of Terms

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Jul 232015
 

For such a young nation, Australia is responsible for some seriously sought-after coins. The 1813 holey dollar & dump and the 1930 penny are two of our most desirable rarities. With an equally illustrious status in Australian numismatics, the 1920 Sydney sovereign is another legendary collectable.

Portraying Pistrucci’s famous St George design with a ‘S’ mintmark in the exergue (above the year-date), only three examples of the 1920 Sydney sovereign are known to exist in private hands. It’s Australia’s rarest collectable gold coin and, unsurprisingly, commands a price tag to suit!

£650,000 was needed to secure one of these elusive treasures when it came to auction in London in 2012. A new world-record price for any Australian or Commonwealth coin, the A$1million sum procured it on behalf of a determined Australian collector.

It’s a pure pleasure to gaze upon the 1920 Sydney sovereign in these exquisite images courtesy of rare coin dealer Jaggard’s. In providing one of just three possible opportunities to achieve a complete series of sovereigns made at Australia’s mints between 1855 and 1931, its significance cannot possibly be overstated.

Credit: Images courtesy of © Jaggard’s.

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Jun 222015
 

The Perth Mint is aiming to heighten interest in half sovereigns with a stunning commemorative that will be available for an extremely short time.

Circulating half sovereign gold coins were produced in Australia between 1855 and 1918.

Worth half a pound sterling (ten shillings), they were initially struck at the Sydney Mint with a ‘colonial’ design unique to New South Wales. Later, these coins were manufactured with Imperial designs at all three Australian branch mints in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

Delicate coins, they proved “a great bother to make” according to Deputy Master Corbet in Perth, who nevertheless struck 735,000 ‘P’ half sovereigns to impeccable standards for issue between 1900 and 1920.

2015 Australia Half Sovereign Gold Proof Coin

2015HalfAustraliaSovereign

Featuring a stunning proof quality finish, this is the first commemorative Australia Half Sovereign ever produced by The Perth Mint. With a design inspired by the Sydney Mint’s original half sovereign, it’s made from 22-carat gold, the traditional purity of all sovereign coins since 1817. Issued as Australian legal tender, it has face value of 15 dollars.

Available for a short time only

An extremely limited number of 2015 Australia Half Sovereign gold proof coins are available from The Perth Mint until 8.00am on Friday 17th July AWST. No further coins will be offered should this allocation run out before the strict deadline date when any remaining stock will be withdrawn.

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