1887 Young Head Half Sovereign, Melbourne Mint


1887 Melbourne Mint Half Sovereign YH Shield Choice Unc obv B & B October 2018
1887 Melbourne Mint Half Sovereign YH Shield Choice Unc rev B & B October 2018
1887 Young Head Half Sovereign, Melbourne Mint , ex Quartermaster Collection
COIN
1887 Young Head Half Sovereign, Melbourne Mint , ex Quartermaster Collection
QUALITY
Choice Uncirculated
PROVENANCE
The famed Quartermaster Collection
PRICE
$70,000
COMMENTS
Barrie Winsor had the privilege, and the pleasure, of cataloguing the Reserve Bank of Australia (R.B.A.) inventory that was sold by Australian Coin Auctions in 2005. Right from the outset Winsor had this 1887 Young Head Half Sovereign in his sights, pegged as one of the absolute finest of one of the key coins in the Australian half sovereign series. He was not alone is his assessment of the coin and was presented with strong opposition at the auction, the coin eventually selling for $61,000, almost double the pre-auction estimate of $32,500.
STATUS
Available now
1887 Melbourne Mint Half Sovereign YH Shield Choice Unc rev B & B October 2018
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Now when it comes to the 1887 Half Sovereign, there are two qualifications that have to be made to assess the coin's rarity.

The first is the mint, Melbourne or Sydney? The former is far rarer.

The second qualification is the design. In 1887 a new half sovereign portrait design was introduced for Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee to mark the fiftieth anniversary of her ascension to the British throne (1837 - 1887).

Records indicate that 64,000 half sovereigns were issued by the Melbourne Mint in 1887, but it is noted that this figure includes the two different portrait designs of Young Head and Jubilee.

 

The industry now acknowledges that only a minuscule number of young head half sovereigns were ever issued in 1887. The suggested mintage is less than 10,000.

The balance of the mintage taken up by the jubilee portrait.

Gripped with sentiment, collectors pursued the commemorative jubilee portrait allowing the young head half sovereigns to slip quietly into circulation. 

A clear explanation of this coin's extreme rarity out in the market place.

1887 - and what a year it was. The estimated population of Australia was 2,881,362 with New South Wales and Victoria almost neck and neck, each with just over 1 million inhabitants. Western Australia, the last penal colony to be settled, had 43,820 inhabitants. Gas bath heaters were introduced in Australian homes and the Horse Tramway started in Ballarat. Queensland's railways reached the New South Wales border at Wallangarra and the Chaffey Brothers made an agreement with the South Australian Government to establish an irrigation system at Renmark.

 

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