1893 Melbourne Mint Proof Sovereign

1893M Proof Sovereign rev December 2018
1893M Proof Sovereign obv December 2018
1893 Melbourne Mint Proof Sovereign
1893 Melbourne Mint Proof Sovereign
Private Collection Melbourne
We are busting the myth about the availability of Melbourne Mint Veiled Head Proof Sovereigns. They are rare. In fact, amazingly rare. For collectors, the Melbourne Mint Veiled Head era of proof gold is said to be “the most readily available”, largely due to the influence of British Collector, John G Murdoch, who is noted as providing his own gold blanks to facilitate the striking of proofs. The phrase “readily available” seriously misleading. It conjures up thoughts that you could buy a proof sovereign at the drop of a hat which could not be further from the truth.
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1893M Proof Sovereign obv December 2018
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While we would certainly apply the term “readily available” to coins such as the 1930 Penny, our experience regarding the availability of Veiled Head Proof Sovereigns tells a vastly different story.

The coins are incredibly difficult to procure, very rarely offered.

The Veiled Head era of Queen Victoria embraces nine years, 1893 to 1901 inclusive.

Three Australian mints were operating during this period, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, the latter opening its doors in 1899.

The Sydney Mint was a very poor contributor to our proof gold coining history, striking proofs in only the first year of the Veiled head era, 1893. No other proofs were struck at the Sydney Mint between 1894 and 1901.  

As the Perth Mint only came on board in 1899, which was the latter part of the Veiled Head era, their contribution to this sector of the market was always going to be slim. The Perth Mint struck proof sovereigns in the year of its opening and again in 1901, the year in which Queen Victoria died.

We have done our research checking auction records and our own private treaty sales and have knowledge of only twelve Veiled Head Melbourne Mint Proof Sovereigns, many of which were last sighted at auction in the eighties. 

Twelve is a minuscule number given that we are not talking 12 of each year but 12 coins that cover the entire spectrum of dates during Queen Victoria’s nine-year reign of 1893 to 1901.

And how many Australian coin collectors are out there? We estimate 1,000,000-plus.

  • We have knowledge of two  1893 Melbourne Mint Proof Sovereigns , both having been sold by Coinworks. This coin is an important piece of currency history as it represents the very first year of a new design, the Veiled Head portrait.
  • We have knowledge of only one  1894 Melbourne Mint Proof Sovereign , ex John J Murdoch Collection, ex Barrie Winsor and sold by private treaty to a Coinworks client in 2006. No examples have ever been sighted at an Australian public auction.
  • We have never sighted or sold an  1895 Melbourne Mint Proof Sovereign .
  • We have never sold an  1896 Melbourne Mint Proof Sovereign.  We have knowledge of two examples both of which appeared at a Sydney Auction in the mid-1980s. This holding period is typical of proof gold. It is one style of coinage that tends to be held for the long term. 
  • We have knowledge of two  1897 Melbourne Mint Proof Sovereigns , one of which appeared at auction in 1985, the other in 1992.
  • We have never sold an  1898 Melbourne Mint Proof Sovereign . We have knowledge of one example, offered at auction in 1990.
  • We have knowledge of two  1899 Melbourne Mint Proof Sovereigns  both of which are held with Coinworks clients.
  • We have knowledge of two  1900 Melbourne Mint Proof Sovereigns . It is the one coin that has eluded us on every occasion that it has been offered …. we have been the auction underbidder on each occasion.
  • We have never sighted or sold a  1901 Melbourne Mint Proof Sovereign .
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