In 2006, an Australian 1920 Sydney Mint Sovereign sold at a Sydney Auction for $582,500. The same coin went under the hammer in London Friday evening selling for a world record price of $1,020,000 (£650,000). It is now the most expensive Australian gold coin in the world.
Bidding opened up at £260,000, leaping by £20,000 increments to £600,000. The increments then settled into £10,000 increases with two room bidders and a phone bidder fighting it out to the bitter end.
The 1920 Sydney Mint Sovereign is legendary. It is Australia’s rarest sovereign with only three circulating examples privately held. (And one struck to Specimen/Proof quality).
Furthermore, the coin has international standing as the rarest date and mint combination in the entire Gold Sovereign Series of the British Empire.
The 1920 Sydney Mint Sovereign is integral to Australia’s coinage history and its price reflects the respect with which the coin (and the industry) is held.
A clear message emerges from this particular deal.
While quality and rarity play a key role in establishing the sovereign’s value, it is the coin’s perceived position in the industry’s pecking order and its role in the nation’s history that has ultimately determined its price.