Gold Ingot Type I - Cast irregular & pentagonal in shape.
The Authority Stamp is depicted on the obverse.
A crowned ‘SA’ within a double linear shield made slightly indistinct by the reverse punching of the ingot weight.
Below, the fineness stamp of 23 carats in raised letters on a sunk rectangular field having the corners removed.
The Weight Stamp is depicted on the reverse and bears an ingot weight punch 0 10 1 and the 22 carats equivalent weight punch of 0 10 11.
J Hunt Deacon in his book the Ingots and Assay Office Pieces of South Australia presents a record of three Type I Ingots.
One was formerly owned by Sir William Dixson and was bequeathed to the State Library of New South Wales.
A second, this piece, was owned by Queensland collector Tom Hadley.
A third was purchased by A. H. Baldwin & Sons London circa 1937, its present location unknown.
The story behind the creation of the Ingots.
The Ingots are the point at which gold coin history began in Australia.
The discovery of significant gold deposits in Australia in 1851 created sudden wealth and stimulated immigration on a vast scale.
It had a profound impact on Australia’s social and political development and underpinned the abandonment of the penal system on which the settlement of Australia was based.
The new-found confidence and a vastly increased population encouraged a national sentiment that accelerated the Australian colonies to unite and form the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.
It is one of the most eventful and extraordinary chapters in Australian history, transforming the economy and society and marking the beginnings of a modern multi-cultural Australia.
Word of the discovery of gold spread like wildfire across the country and overseas. First was the rush to Ophir near Bathurst in early 1851 and the even greater rush to Ballarat in August of the same year.
Then in quick succession came the rich finds throughout central Victoria, Queensland, Northern Territory and finally the bonanza in Western Australia.
No one was immune from the dramatic effects of the discovery of gold.
One of the first colonies to feel gold’s impact was South Australia, their economy collapsing due to the exit of labour and circulating currency to Victoria’s gold fields.
Adelaide lost almost half its male population within the first three months of the first big gold strike near Ballarat. The Adelaide economy was as good as bankrupt.
South Australia’s problems were further compounded because there was no method available to convert the gold nuggets the diggers had brought back from Victoria into a form that could be used for monetary transactions.
The South Australian Legislative Council was prohibited from striking sovereigns as it did not have Royal Prerogative from London.
However, an “urgent necessity” clause paved the way for the South Australian Legislative Council to pass the 1852 Bullion Act within two hours.
The Council sought to deflect Royal disapproval by striking gold ingots rather than sovereigns.