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
In 2018, proof gold emerged as one of the most fiercely contested areas of the rare coin market. Prices paid at auction for proof sovereigns and proof half sovereigns surged by about 20 per cent, the consequence of increased demand. Now while it is true that gold is Australia’s most popular collecting metal, the key to the growth in proof gold has been its inordinate scarcity. Buyers know that there is never a chance that the market will be flooded with examples. The scarcity has simply given the market the confidence to buy. This coin is a case in point for we are aware of only one other Proof 1893 Melbourne Mint Sovereign, and that coin is held with a Coinworks client. Over and above its rarity, 1893 was the very first year to depict the veiled head portrait of Queen Victoria, adding further to this coin’s appeal.
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1893M Proof Sovereign obv December 2018
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When sizing up a coin and evaluating its potential for growth, a buyer should consider two aspects.

  1. The rarity of the coin itself.
  2. The rarity of the market sector to which it belongs. The adage, "less is best" holds true in the rare coin industry for you don't want the market to be flooded with examples from the same sector.

The ideal investment scenario occurs when the coin is rare. And the sector is occupied by very few coins. 

As detailed above, this Proof 1893 Sovereign is rare. And the Veiled Head sector (to which it belongs) is very light on in numbers.

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, its 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.

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

It is also noted that many of these Veiled Head gold proofs were last sighted decades ago, in the 1980s and 1990s.

  • 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 nor have we 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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