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Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign and Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign, the only pair held in Australia.


30305-Header-Proof-1855-Sov-&-Half-Sov-Pair-March-2022
Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign and Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign, the only pair held in Australia.
COIN
Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign and Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign, the only pair held in Australia.
PRICE
$220,000 (Sovereign), $220,000 (Half Sovereign)
STATUS
Now available
QUALITY
Flawless FDC, ultra cameo, glowing with mirrored lustre
PROVENANCE
Detailed individually below
COMMENTS
This Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign and Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign is the only pair available in Australia. Only one other pair is known, held overseas. The coins are an integral part of Australia's coining history. Treasures of the Sydney Mint, they were struck at the Royal Mint London prior to the opening of the Sydney Mint in 1855.Visually stunning with a provenance that can be traced back to 1903, the coins were held as part of the esteemed John G. Murdoch Collection. And these stunning ultra-rare 1855 Cameo Proofs are available now. Copies of the Catalogues attesting to their provenance will be provided.
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A market that is chasing gold proofs ...

Australia has some of the rarest and most beautiful coins you could imagine, particularly in the proof gold sector. The coins, proof sovereigns and proof half sovereigns, have always been popular with local collectors, simply because of their inherent rarity.

Local collectors are now under pressure from overseas investors. Over the last two years international buyers have been steadily encroaching into our market, pushing prices. In the latter part of 2021, overseas investors blitzed an auction in Zurich where Australian proof gold was offered paying top dollar to secure our proof gold coin rarities.

Prices for Australian proof sovereign and proof half sovereigns have, as a result, rocketed overseas. And it will have a flow-on effect into the local market.

 

Proof coins are numismatic works of art. They are the story tellers that define a year or an era like no other coin. Proof coins can also denote an occasion. And they tend to have a connection to a prominent person or an influential collector.

The more potent its history and its narrative, the more influential the coin. And we see this quite clearly in the value the market places on these gold proofs.

Even more compelling ... proof coins are extremely rare. The exclusivity exemplified in this pair. Only one other pair is known, held overseas.

This is the only pair held in Australia.


30305-Proof-1855-Sovereign-Rev-March-2022

Australia, Queen Victoria, proof sovereign, dated 1855, struck at the Royal Mint London. Australia at centre beneath a crown surrounded by a bowed wreath, ONE SOVEREIGN at the bottom as a curved legend.

Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign

In terms of minting expertise and design skills, the British mint did all the heavy lifting to ensure that the Sydney Mint would open its doors in 1855. Two years ahead of the colonial opening the Royal Mint London had finalised designs and created the dies.

Minting protocols were followed and a minute number of presentation pieces were struck to proof quality testing the dies. And the designs.

This Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign was one such presentation piece.

Only three Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereigns are known ... the surprising point here is that none are held in museums either here or overseas. Every known example is held by a private collector.

30305-Proof-1855-Sovereign-Obv-March-2022

Australia, Queen Victoria, proof sovereign, dated 1855, struck at the Royal Mint London. Second young head wearing a wreath of banksia leaves and showing the queen's braided hair drawn around and beneath her ear.

 

This Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Sovereign has an illustrious provenance that can be traced back to the early twentieth century.

  • Sold by Sotheby's London, 1903, as part of the famous John G. Murdoch Collection.
  • Sold by Sothebys London, 1922, as part of the equally famous Nobleman (Baron La Renotiere Ferrari) Collection.
  • Max Stern Melbourne, 1969 (where it was offered privately to Barrie Winsor).
  • Sold by Spink Australia July 1985 for $32,000, the coin's first and only appearance at an Australian Auction.
  • Acquired from Barrie Winsor in 2000 and sold by private treaty to a Sydney collector.

30305-Proof-1855-Half-Sovereign-Rev-March-2022

Australia, Queen Victoria, proof half sovereign, dated 1855, struck at the Royal Mint London. Australia at centre beneath a crown surrounded by a bowed wreath, HALF SOVEREIGN at the bottom as a curved legend.

Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign

If you are a collector of Australian gold sovereigns and half sovereigns, then the year 1855 is key. The nation's gold coin history began in that year with the opening of our first mint in Sydney. And the issuing of our first official gold coinage.

This Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign was struck at the Royal Mint London, in preparation for the issuing of Australia's first official gold currency. The coin was struck with a brilliant mirror finish and features a grained edge.

Only two quality proof specimens are held in private collections, one in Australia (this coin) and the other overseas. A third example is known, a confirmed proof, but the coin has circulated and has a quality grading of Good Fine.

 

30305-Proof-1855-Half-Sovereign-Obv-March-2022

Australia, Queen Victoria, proof half sovereign, dated 1855, struck at the Royal Mint London. Second young head wearing a wreath of banksia leaves and showing the queen's braided hair drawn around and beneath her ear.


This Proof 1855 Sydney Mint Half Sovereign has an illustrious provenance that can be traced back to the early twentieth century.

  • Sold Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge in 1903, in the liquidation of the John G. Murdoch Collection.
  • Acquired by foremost U.S. collector Virgil Brand, then to  aviation pioneer Captain Vivian Hewitt and then to New York collector, John L. Ahbe.
  • The first public appearance at an Australian auction was in November 1981.
  • A second public appearance occurred in November 1992 at Spink Auctions.
  • Acquired from Barrie Winsor in 2000 and sold by private treaty to a Sydney collector.
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