Proof 1893 Melbourne Mint Sovereign

Proof 1893 Melbourne Mint Sovereign
Proof 1893 Melbourne Mint 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 infrequent availability and an expanding market thirsting for top quality rarities. 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 Proof 1893 Sovereign is a case in point. The coin is one of two examples recorded over the last half century.
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This Proof 1893 Sovereign was struck at the Melbourne Mint and features the Veiled Head portrait of Queen Victoria.

The year 1893 was the very first year the Veiled Head portrait appeared on Australia’s sovereigns, the design continuing uninterrupted until the death of Queen Victoria in 1901.

Three Australian mints were operating during this period, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, the latter opening its doors in 1899.

Sydney Mint Veiled Head Proofs.

The Sydney Mint was a very poor contributor to the nation's 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.  

Perth Mint Veiled Head Proofs.

As the Perth Mint only came on board in 1899, which was the latter part of the Veiled Head era, their contribution to this sector of the market was always going to be slim.

Only one example has been sighted of the Proof 1899 Sovereign (with two believed struck).

And while three proofs were believed to have been struck in 1901, only one example has been sighted and was sold by Coinworks in 2013.

Melbourne Mint Veiled Head Proofs.

We researched auction records and our own private treaty sales and have confirmed the existence of twelve Proof Veiled Head Melbourne Mint Sovereigns, many of which have not been sighted since the 1980s and 1990s.

It is noted that these twelve examples cover the entire spectrum of dates in Queen Victoria’s nine-year reign of 1893 to 1901. And are an accumulation of sightings observed over the last 50-plus years.

Now we know that twelve Proof Veiled Head Sovereigns are never going to be slapped onto the table in one hit and offered for sale at the same time, so how often can a buyer realistically expect to see one such coin?

Our research confirms that you could realistically expect to sight a Melbourne Mint Proof Veiled Head Sovereign on the market every four to five years.


Now let's discuss the rarity and price potential of the Proof 1893 Sovereign.

When sizing up a coin and evaluating its potential for growth, a buyer should assess the coin on two levels.

  1. The first is the rarity of the coin itself.
  2. And the second, the rarity of the sector of the market to which it belongs. In the case of this coin, the Veiled Head era.

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 other coins.

As detailed above, this Proof 1893 Sovereign is extremely rare, one of only two known.

And the Veiled Head sector is extremely scarce and is occupied by very few coins.

Which goes back to our opening statement that the key to the growth in demand for proof gold is its inordinate scarcity.

Buyers of proof gold know that there is NEVER a chance that the market will be flooded with examples.



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