1857 Sydney Mint Proof Half Sovereign

1857 Sydney Mint Proof Half Sovereign head side
1857 Sydney Mint Proof Half Sovereign
1857 Sydney Mint Proof Half Sovereign
$ 175,000
Sold March 2015
Murdoch, Nobleman, Spink Auctions 1978, Spink Auction 1988, Barrie Winsor, Private Collection Sydney
While we acknowledge that not every buyer has the financial capacity to acquire a Sydney Mint Proof Half Sovereign, every rare coin collector will at the very least recognise why we say that this piece is an outstanding investment opportunity.
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There are three aspects to this coin, and the sector of the market to which it belongs that are critical to our statement that this is “an outstanding investment opportunity”.

  1. While circulating half sovereigns featuring the banksia hair design (or Type 2 design) were struck in each of the ten years between 1857 and 1866, proofs were struck in only two of them: the first and last, 1857 and 1866.
  2. There are three known examples of the 1857. And only two of the 1866 both of which are noted as having been mishandled.
  3. Which leaves ONLY ONE CHOICE for the buyer looking for a quality Sydney Mint Proof Half Sovereign (1857 to 1866). The 1857 Proof Half Sovereign.

Australia’s half sovereign history began in 1855 with the introduction of the Sydney Mint design. It was a style that imparted a uniquely Australian flavour into the nation’s first official gold coinage.

The reverse design of Australia’s first half sovereign has fascinated historians and collectors alike. 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.

In 1857 the obverse design of Queen Victoria’s portrait was altered to impart an even stronger Australian feel: a sprig of native flora, the Banksia, added to her hair. It is referred to as the Type 2 or Banksia design.

The Sydney Mint design continued until 1870. In 1871 Australia’s gold coinage took on the more traditional English designs of St George and the Dragon and the Shield.


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