This 1931 Proof Sovereign was struck as a collector piece at the Melbourne Mint in 1931 and never intended to go into circulation. It is a presentation piece minted to proof quality and is one of only two examples sighted on the open market over the last fifty years.
The striking of proofs in Australia is not a modern day phenomenon. Nor a product of the Royal Australian Mint’s decimal era.
The nation’s mints were striking proofs of our pre-decimal coinage in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the intention was then, as it is today, to create limited mintage collector coins truck to the highest quality standards.
But while the story of Australia’s gold coinage is a narrative about history, it also is the story of the collectors that owned them. This coin says as much about its owners as it does the point in time that it represents.
While Philip Spalding is best remembered for his passion of Holey Dollars, (he authored the book ‘The World of the Holey Dollar’) his collecting interests extended to gold coinage and in particular proof gold.
On an historical note, 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. The mint struck its very last sovereign in 1931.