The comparison with the 1852 Adelaide Pound is an inevitable one for the 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign: the Adelaide Pound being Australia’s very first gold coin, the 1855 Sovereign the nation’s first sovereign.
It is statement of fact that the 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign in the upper quality levels is about four times as scarce as the 1852 Adelaide Pound. And yet the price levels are comparable.
That’s an anomaly that will be addressed over time. This 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign in our view can - and will - command a price nudging the $100,000 level. As time passes the historical importance of this coin can only increase.
At Coinworks we have a very deep respect for history and this is clearly evident in the style of coins that we offer. Highly historical coins have a relevance beyond the industry. They are pieces that appeal to the widest possible buying audience which is why at Coinworks, they are always our preference. And it is history that underpins demand and fosters price growth.
Unlike South Australia, which overcame a currency shortage by striking the Adelaide Pound, without British Government approval, Victoria and NSW followed protocol and petitioned for a branch of the Royal Mint to be established in their colonies. Sydney had applied for a branch of the Royal Mint as far back as December 1851.
On the 9th August 1853 Queen Victoria approved an Order in Council prepared by the British Government to establish Australia’s very first mint at or near Sydney, in New South Wales. The mint was located in the southern wing of the city’s Rum Hospital constructed during Lachlan Macquarie’s term as Governor of the penal colony.
Although it was initially envisaged that the Sydney Mint would produce imperial design sovereigns, it was decided that, as the coins would be legal tender only in the colonies, a design specifically attributed to the Sydney Mint should be produced.
The full name of the mint, Sydney Mint, was incorporated into the legend: going against all known protocols at the time. Furthermore the coins were inscribed with the national name, Australia, even though the country was at that stage operating as separate colonies. Australia did not operate under a single Government until Federation in 1901.
The mint began receiving gold on May 14, 1855, and issued its first sovereigns soon after on June 23.