It is the reverse of this 1852 Adelaide Pound that defines its extreme scarcity. The coin bears the tell-tale crack in the DWT area of the legend and features a beaded inner circle design encasing the value of One Pound. We refer to the coin as the First Die or Cracked Die Adelaide Pound.
The coin was minted at the Government Assay Office in Adelaide and is the nation’s very first gold coin affording it a unique position in history. Furthermore the Cracked Die is rare with less than forty examples available to private collectors, across all levels of quality.
First die? Cracked Die? Second die? It all sounds a little bit pedantic but it is a fact that two different dies were used in the production of the Adelaide Pound. The first 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.
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, it was viewed as being faulty, so very few examples out of the first run were kept as souvenirs. A scan of auction records from the early 1950s up until the present also shows that many Cracked Dies have been mounted and used in jewellery pieces, further reducing the pool of quality examples available to buyers.
Rare in any quality, this Cracked Die Adelaide Pound is especially scarce in the superior quality level offered here.