THE DISTINCTIVE PLAIN EDGE
A presentation piece especially struck for a museum
The Sydney Mint especially struck examples of the Proof 1893 Sovereign and Proof 1893 Half Sovereign with a plain edge, believed for a museum. And both are accounted for.
This pair which is the only pair available to collectors. And one other pair, held in the Museum of Victoria, having come from the Sydney Mint Museum.
For the collector seeking exclusivity, this plain edged Proof 1893 Sovereign and Proof 1893 Half Sovereign is the ultimate prize.
THE SYDNEY MINT
The rarest of the rare of the Veiled Head era
For collectors seeking extreme rarity, the stand-out mint of the Veiled head era is the Sydney Mint.
The Veiled Head portrait of Queen Victoria was depicted on Australia's sovereigns and half sovereigns from 1893 to 1901, inclusive. Nine years.
During that time, three Australian mints were striking the nation's circulating gold coinage. The Sydney Mint, that opened in 1855. The Melbourne Mint, that opened in 1872. And the Perth Mint that commenced operations six years into the veiled head era, in 1899.
So while there were plenty of opportunities for proofs to be struck, for whatever reason, the opportunities were not always taken up.
Proofs were only struck at the Sydney Mint in 1893. No proofs were struck at the Sydney Mint in 1894 and in the subsequent years up to, and including, 1901.
The Melbourne Mint seized the opportunity and struck proof coins in every year of the nine years that made up this era, the influence of renowned British Collector John G Murdoch.
The Perth Mint wasted no time in striking proofs in the year that it opened (1899) and in the final year of the veiled head era (1901), skipping the year in between, 1900.
PROOF COINS ARE THE NATION'S STORY TELLERS
Proof coins are presentation pieces and were struck to the ultimate levels of quality. They define an era, or a year, like no other coin. They can also define an occasion. And a monarch. And proof coins are excruciatingly rare.
The Proofs of 1893, both the sovereign and half sovereign, define the dawning of a new era. In 1893, Australia changed the obverse portrait of the nation's sovereigns and half sovereigns to depict Queen Victoria in her twilight years.
A brilliant frosted Proof 1893 Sovereign struck at the Sydney Mint with a plain edge, the reverse featuring St George and the Dragon designed by Benedetto Pistrucci.
A brilliant frosted Proof 1893 Sovereign struck at the Sydney Mint with a plain edge, the obverse featuring the veiled head portrait of Queen Victoria designed by Sir Thomas Brock.
COLLECTING AUSTRALIAN GOLD COINS
The magnetism of gold is as strong as it has ever been. Gold is still to this day viewed as a storage of wealth and gold is vigorously traded and possessed. Gold jewellery. Gold bullion. And of course. Gold coins.
Now, when it comes to collecting vintage gold coins, collectors have two distinct options. They can acquire coins that were struck for circulation: coins that were meant to be used. Or they can collect coins that were struck as presentation pieces to PROOF QUALITY.
The coins on offer are presentation pieces struck to proof quality, a Proof 1893 Sovereign and Proof 1893 Half Sovereign struck at the Sydney Mint.
That proof coins were struck in the nineteenth century may surprise some readers. But it has to be said that the striking of proof coins in Australia is not a modern day phenomenon. Nor a product of the decimal era.
The nation’s mints were striking proofs in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the intention was then, as it is today, to create coins that were struck to the highest standards of quality. And in the most minuscule numbers.
Each option, circulating coinage or proof coinage, presents the buyer with a vastly different sized pool of specimens from which to choose.
General date (non-key date), average circulating gold sovereigns, are available in the thousands if not the tens of thousands. Once the collector sets parameters on quality and dates, the pool of specimens narrows and it is true that acquiring a key date gold coin that was struck for circulation, particularly one in premium quality, can be a journey in time that involves many months, if not years.
The task of acquiring gold proofs of our nineteenth and twentieth century coinage is far more challenging. The pathway to proof coinage for buyers can involve many years, if not decades.
Rarity is the key word when discussing proof gold. And it is a statement of fact that proof gold, irrespective of the sector, is extremely rare and buying opportunities will always be thin on the ground.
And the reasons?
This Proof 1893 Sovereign and Proof 1893 Half Sovereign is a golden opportunity and for just one buyer.
A brilliant frosted Proof 1893 Half Sovereign struck at the Sydney Mint with a plain edge, the reverse featuring St George and the Dragon designed by Benedetto Pistrucci.
A brilliant frosted Proof 1893 Half Sovereign struck at the Sydney Mint with a plain edge, the obverse featuring the veiled head portrait of Queen Victoria designed by Sir Thomas Brock.