History records that the striking of Australia’s very first gold coin at the Adelaide Assay Office was plagued with problems. Excessive pressure exerted during the minting process cracked the first obverse die. A second obverse die was then taken up to continue striking coins.
First die? Cracked Die? Second die? It all sounds a little bit pedantic but it is a fact that the designs of the first two dies used in the production of the Adelaide Pound were different. The first die featured a beaded inner circle and produced approximately 40 coins before a die crack was noticed. (That’s why the terms First Die and Cracked Die are synonymous.)
A second die, featuring a crenellated inner circle , was then taken up and was used to strike a further 24,600-plus coins.
Not only is there a distinct design difference between the coins struck from the first and second die, what is obvious from the figures is that those Adelaide Pounds struck using the first die are incredibly rare. Our experience affirms its rarity. In a career that spans forty-plus years we have handled less than ten examples.
Having accepted the rarity of the coin we now move on to discuss the quality levels that are available to buyers.
It is a fact that the majority of Adelaide Pounds from the first run are found today well worn. And that is not surprising. Because the die cracked, the coin was viewed as being faulty, so very few examples out of the first run were kept as souvenirs.
The Cracked Die Adelaide Pound is an iconic Australian rarity with less than forty examples available to private collectors, across all levels of quality.