The 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign is an enigma. It is the coin that according to Perth Mint records was never struck.
Now, that’s a story we have heard before.
The 1930 Penny is yet another Australian coin rarity that according to its mint of origin, the Melbourne Mint, was also never struck.
In both cases the mystery surrounding their striking has added to their appeal, underpinning collector demand.
The first appearance of a 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign occurred in 1967 and was noted in the then industry magazine, 'The Australian Coin Review'.
Inspired by the coin's first sighting, collectors commenced searching. And over the ensuing years, a few more 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereigns trickled their way out into the market place.
The extreme rarity of the 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign challenged historians and numismatists to come up with a plausible reason for the minuscule mintage.
Extensive research was undertaken on die usage at the Perth Mint in 1918 and in the years thereafter. The conclusion was that a mintage of half sovereigns was struck in 1919 and again in 1920 - using the dies dated 1918 - all of which was exported overseas with the majority assumed melted down.
The 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign is a stand-alone rarity. Its a key coin - the rarest date - in the George V Half Sovereign Series.
But it also is an important date in our entire Half Sovereign series (1855 to 1918) for Australia struck its last half sovereign in 1918.
The first Australian half sovereign to depict the portrait of George V was dated 1911. The last half sovereign to depict his portrait was dated 1918.
A complete collection of George V Half Sovereigns involves nine coins.
1911 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign
1911 Perth Mint Half Sovereign
1912 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign
1914 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign
1915 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign
1915 Melbourne Mint Half Sovereign
1915 Perth Mint Half Sovereign
1916 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign
1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign
It is a relatively easy collection to put together. Except for one coin. That being the very last coin in the series and the most elusive, the 1918 Perth Mint Half Sovereign. This coin.
The 'P' mintmark above the date clearly denotes this coin as a Perth Mint striking.
The 1918 Half Sovereign was the very last Australian Half Sovereign, marking the end of an era. A world class rarity, the coin features the portrait of King George V. A die crack is noted on the forehead.