The Government Assay Office 1852 Gold Ingot. Type II


Type TWO INGOT n&v august 2017 2
The Government Assay Office 1852 Gold Ingot. Type II
COIN
The Government Assay Office 1852 Gold Ingot. Type II
QUALITY
Extremely Fine and the only known example privately held.
PROVENANCE
First recorded public sale at Glendinings, London 21 - 23 November 1956, the property of Herbert W. Taffs M.B.E. Acquired for the Strauss Collection U.K. Sold by private treaty in 1999 to Barrie Winsor on behalf of Australian collector Tom Hadley. The Ingot was displayed at the opening of the National Museum of Australia, Canberra, in 2001 as part of an incomparable exhibition of gold artefacts from around the world: the opening the centrepiece of Australia’s Centenary of Federation Celebrations.
PRICE
$1.35 million
COMMENTS
The Adelaide Ingot is Australia’s first gold “coinage”. A rolled gold ingot created from precious metal dug from the Victorian gold fields. Transported to South Australia in 1852, the gold was shaped and stamped for currency purposes and issued under the legislative authority of the Bullion Act of the Province. It was crude. But functional. Struck to show its weight and its equivalent in standard gold, the Ingot was used by the banks to support their note issue, just as if they were gold sovereigns. The Ingots are definitively the point at which gold coin history began in Australia.
STATUS
Available now
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Oblong rolled gold ingot, Type II, part oval, part rectangular with corners off.

A uniface Ingot, the Authority Stamp, a crowned ‘SA’ within a double linear shield is triple struck.

The fineness stamp of 23, 1 over 8 under a punch of CARAT.

The weight stamp to left bearing an ingot weight punch 0 5 8 and the 22 carats equivalent weight punch of 5 14.

J Hunt Deacon in his book the Ingots and Assay Office Pieces of South Australia presents a record of four Type II Ingots.

One was acquired by the British Museum.

A second was formerly owned by Sir William Dixson, bequeathed to the State Library of New South Wales.

A third was acquired by the National Gallery of South Australia and the fourth this piece, owned by Queensland collector Tom Hadley.

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Ingot Type TWO front tech September 2018
Ingot Type TWO back tech September 2018

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.

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