1861 Sydney Mint Sovereign

1861 Sydney Mint Sovereign
1861 Sydney Mint Sovereign
Available now
Choice Uncirculated
Private Collection Melbourne
They say, ‘first impressions are lasting’ and this is certainly the case with this 1861 Sydney Mint Sovereign. Visually impactful with superb intact edges and reflective proof-like surfaces. And under the eye-glass the coin continues to shine for it has been well struck, the design highly detailed. Given that this coin was minted more than one and a half centuries ago in the factory-like conditions of the nation’s first mint makes it more remarkable. And, it has been brilliantly preserved. The coin was presented to us painstakingly wrapped up into a minute parcel in tissue paper and had been hidden away for decades. There is still original lustre! This is a rare date Sydney Mint Type II sovereign offered in the ultimate quality of Choice Uncirculated. It is a stand-alone investment piece. It also is the perfect option for the collector seeking to complete a portrait set of Australia’s sovereigns 1855 to 1931. For more information on this coin, including technical shots … READ MORE.
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Australia’s gold coinage history began in 1855 with the introduction of the Sydney Mint design. It was a style that rejected the protocols of London, imparting a uniquely Australian flavour into the nation’s first official gold coinage.

For the first, and only time, the word AUSTRALIA appeared on the reverse of our sovereigns.

A young portrait of Queen Victoria appeared on the obverse with a braid in her hair. This design, known as the Type I design, appeared in only the years 1855 and 1856.

The Australian flavour of the nation’s gold coinage was strengthened in 1857 when the design was altered to incorporate a sprig of Australia’s native flower, the banksia, in the Queen’s hair. This is referred to as the Type II portrait design and it ran from 1857 until 1870 inclusive.

This 1861 Sydney Mint Sovereign features the Type II portrait design.

If we consider for a moment the Type II design (1857 – 1870) we see that year 1865 is a defining point. Those coins struck between 1857 and 1865 inclusive are extremely rare in choice quality. Those struck in 1866 and after, up until 1870, are relatively readily available, even in choice quality

Our experiences affirm this statement.

We can count on the fingers of two hands the number of Sydney Mint Sovereigns that we have sold that were struck between 1857 and 1865 and that were in Choice Uncirculated, a reflection of their extremely limited availability at this quality level. 

So what is a portrait set? And why would this coin make a good choice for a Portrait Set?

Answer. The quality.

A complete sovereign collection is comprised of nearly 200 coins and that’s overwhelming for even the most financial of collectors. And potentially frustrating given the time that it would take to complete. That’s why so many collectors take the short cut of completing a portrait set. The sense of completeness is definitely there. And the financial burden is substantially reduced.

The Australian Sovereign series ran from 1855 to 1931 and during this time eight different portraits were used, five of Queen Victoria, one of Edward VII and two of George V.

So a complete portrait set of Australian sovereigns involves only eight coins.

1. Queen Victoria Sydney Mint Type 1 (1855 – 1856)

2. Queen Victoria Sydney Mint Type 2 (1857 – 1870)

3. Queen Victoria Young Head (1871 – 1887)

4. Queen Victoria Jubilee (1887 – 1893)

5. Queen Victoria Veiled Head (1893 – 1901)

6. King Edward VII (1902 – 1910)

7. King George V Large Head (1911 – 1928)

8. King George V Small Head (1929 – 1931)

The acquisition of this 1861 Sovereign takes care of the Type II portrait design, crossing one element off the above list, in the superb quality level of Choice Uncirculated.


PO Box 1060 Hawksburn Victoria Australia 3142

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