Quality, quality, quality
This coin was hand selected by Barrie Winsor in 2006 for Queensland collector, Tom Hadley ... and doesn't it show.
The coin is lustrous on both obverse and reverse, the design detail crisp, the edges superb.
The half sovereign versus the sovereign
The challenges of collecting half sovereigns is clearly played out in the Young Head Shield era at the Sydney Mint.
The average mintage figure of the half sovereign was 157,000.
The average mintage figure of the sovereign was nearly ten times that number at 1.56 million.
Having accepted the extreme scarcity of half sovereigns over the sovereign, it also has to be said that the half sovereign was the coin of the people and heavily traded in day-to-day transactions. The sovereign to a far lesser extent.
The very reason why top quality half sovereigns are so scarce in today's market.
1887 - a challenging year for the Sydney Mint
The year 1887 must have been an extremely challenging one for the Sydney Mint for a new portrait of Queen Victoria was introduced to mark the monarch's golden jubilee.
So, one year, two portrait designs for the half sovereign (Young Head and Jubilee) ... it obviously became a bit much!
Confusion reigned for the mintage of 134,000 half sovereigns reported by the Sydney Mint to its master, the Royal Mint London, included both portrait designs of Young Head and Jubilee.
Now a mintage of 134,000 is extremely low making both design types very scarce.
But, collectors are a knowing bunch and identified very quickly that the 1887 Half Sovereign struck with the Young Head portrait (this coin) was by far scarcer than that struck with the Jubilee Head.
1887 Half Sovereign struck at the Sydney Mint and featuring the Young Head portrait of Queen Victoria
1887 Half Sovereign reverse featuring the 'S' for Sydney Mint below the shield