The 1852 Adelaide Pound holds a very special place in Australia's history as the nation's first gold coin. It is a classic Australian numismatic rarity, as is the 1930 Penny, the 1813 Holey Dollar and the 1813 Dump.
Its status as Australia’s first gold coin ensures that it will always be sought after and strengthens its investment value. Its investment value is also enhanced by its rarity for we estimate that perhaps 250 examples are available to collectors, across all quality levels.
We advise buyers to follow a prime rule when selecting an Adelaide Pound. Pick a coin that is visually very attractive. Do not accept the gouges and knocks that impact on its eye appeal. Or the coin that has no edges or has a soft legend.
How an Adelaide Pound looks to the naked eye is an important part of the selection process. This simple point will count when, further down the track, it comes time for you to liquidate your coin and realise on your investment.
It must be remembered that the Adelaide Assay Office was opened 168 years ago as a refinery to strike gold ingots. Except for ensuring the accuracy of the weight and purity of gold in the coin, there was minimal care regarding the overall striking and the eye appeal of the coin. The coins were hammered out and hurled down an assembly line, more than likely into a barrel or bucket.
The coins were to be used as currency, traded in commerce. Not preserved as collectables. Also, gold is a relatively soft metal and the rigours of circulation have treated many Adelaide Pounds harshly.
We also know from historical records that the striking of the Adelaide Pound was fraught with problems. During the first run of coins, the die cracked. A second die was used, and to minimise the risk of further cracking, the pressure was reduced.
While the reduced pressure extended the life of the dies, it created its own set of problems in the execution of the design detail. The very reason why we always consider the strength of the strike as well as the grading level and aesthetics.
It is a fact that many Type II Adelaide Pounds show weakness in the edges and the legend 'Assay Office'. With some coins this area is almost non-existent. In other Adelaide Pounds we see weakness in the crown area. A flattened cross on the orb and no ermine in the band.
The very reason why when it comes to assessing an Adelaide Pound, we always start at the edges and work our way in. We confirm the strength of the edge denticles and the legend Government Assay Office. We then move inwards to the crown. And lastly, we examine the fields.
Taking up this rule and applying it to this coin we can confirm:
An exceptional Type II example, with complete edge denticles and a strong legend.
A highly lustrous, glowing reverse. And again the edges are exceptionally strong.