The Melbourne Mint was the second branch of the Royal Mint London to be opened in Australia and commenced operations striking gold sovereigns in 1872. Historical records confirm that the first batch of dies sent to the Melbourne Mint from the Royal Mint London were dated 1871. Dies dated 1872 did not reach Melbourne until April of that year.
Records indicate that the Melbourne Mint were depleting their supply of dies at a frightening pace, quite likely due to their relative inexperience in striking coinage. To ensure that they could maintain sovereign production, the mint engaged famous colonial jeweller Julius Hogarth to provide a back-up supply of dies by re-working the 1871 dies and altering the ‘1’ to a ‘2’. A close inspection of the coins shows that his work was far from perfect.
Nevertheless Hogarth helped to create one of the great rarities in the Australian sovereign series.