Australia Melbourne Mint Gold Sovereigns Guide.

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The Royal Mint at William Street in Melbourne was a lovely Victorian Complex around a verandaed courtyard.
This was in fact a branch of the Royal Mint in London and not originally an Australian company.

 280 William St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

It was built in 1871-1872 and the central administrative wing is based on the Palazzon Cafferelli-Vidoni by Raphael in Rome. The Melbourne Mint began production of sovereigns in 1872. These had the mint mark m.
Following the discovery of gold in Australia the NSW Legislative Council on 19 December 1851 addressed a petition to Her Majesty Queen Victoria seeking the establishment of a branch of the Royal Mint (London) in Sydney. The intention was to turn the newly won gold into sovereigns and half sovereigns, and to establish a point of sale where the miners would receive the official price of gold as opposed to the often-paltry prices paid by the buyers on the fields.
All equipment and dies were sent from London and sample coins had to be sent back to London for approval. It was possible for miners and gold owners to take their gold directly to the mint and have it made into coins. There was a charge made for this service.

List of Sovereigns & Half Sovereign minted in Melbourne.

Half Sovereign
Sovereigns coin 1872748,180None Issued
Sovereigns coin 1873752,199165,034
Sovereigns coin 18741,373,298None Issued
Sovereigns coin 18751,888,405None Issued
Sovereigns coin 18762,124,445None Issued
Sovereigns coin 18771,487,31680,016
Sovereigns coin 18782,171,457None Issued
Sovereigns coin 18792,740,594None Issued
Sovereigns coin 18803,053,454None Issued
Sovereigns coin 18812,324,80042,009
Sovereigns coin 18824,559,631107,522
Sovereigns coin 18832,050,450None Issued
Sovereigns coin 18842,942,63048,009
Sovereigns coin 18852,967,14311,003
Sovereigns coin 18862,902,13138,008
Melbourne issued Queen Victoria “Young Head” type
Half Sovereign
Sovereigns coin 18872,856,42464,013
Sovereigns coin 18882,830,612None Issued
Sovereigns coin 18892,732,590None Issued
Sovereigns coin 18902,473,537None Issued
Sovereigns coin 18912,749,592None Issued
Sovereigns coin 18923,488,750None Issued
Sovereigns coin 18931,649,352110,024
Melbourne issued Jubilee head Victoria Sovereigns:
Half Sovereign
Sovereigns coin 18931,346,000Mintage Unknown
Sovereigns coin 18944,166,874None Issued
Sovereigns coin 18954,165,869None Issued
Sovereigns coin 18964,456,932218,946
Sovereigns coin 18975,130,565None Issued
Sovereigns coin 18985,509,138None Issued
Melbourne issued Old head Victoria Sovereigns:
Half Sovereign
Gold Sovereign 1902 ProofExtremely Rare
Sovereigns coin 19024,267,157
Sovereigns coin 19033,521,780
Sovereigns coin 19043,743,897
Sovereigns coin 19053,633,838
Gold Sovereign 19063,657,853
Sovereigns coin 19073,332,691
Sovereigns coin 19083,080,148
Sovereigns coin 19093,029,538
Sovereigns coin 19103,054,547
Melbourne issued Edward VII Sovereigns
Half Sovereign
Sovereigns coin 19112,851,451None Issued
Sovereigns coin 19122,469,257None Issued
Sovereigns coin 19132,323,180None Issued
Sovereigns coin 1914 *2,012,029None Issued
Sovereigns coin 19151,637,839125,664
Sovereigns coin 19161,272,634None Issued
Sovereigns coin 1917934,469None Issued
Sovereigns coin 19184,809,493None Issued
Sovereigns coin 1919514,257None Issued
Sovereigns coin 1920530,266None Issued
Sovereigns coin 1921240,121None Issued
Sovereigns coin 1922608,306None Issued
Sovereigns coin 1923511,129None Issued
Sovereigns coin 1924278,140None Issued
Sovereigns coin 19253,311,662None Issued
Sovereigns coin 1926211,107None Issued
Sovereigns coin 1928413,208None Issued
Sovereigns coin 1929436,938None Issued
Sovereigns coin 193077,588None Issued
Sovereigns coin 193157,809None Issued
Melbourne issued George V Standard head1911 – 1928 | Small head: 1929 – 1932 WWI * Suspension of the Gold Sovereign as circulated currency

With the discovery of even larger gold fields, Victoria’s Legislative Council petitioned the Queen in July 1852 for a branch of the Royal Mint to be set up in Melbourne. The NSW petition, lodged 19 December 1851, was successful and the Sydney branch of the Royal Mint commenced operations on the 14 May 1855. Melbourne’s bid failed and it was not until 1865 that a further petition brought a favorable response. This delay is surprising in view of the fact that by 1860 there were over 80,000 alluvial miners on the fields and, by 1861 Victoria had over half of the Australia’s total population of 1,145,000.

A proclamation and Order – in – Council issued on 7 August 1869 constituted the Melbourne branch of the Royal Mint declaring that: ‘gold coins made at the Melbourne branch Mint will be legal tender in all parts of Her Majesty’s dominions in which gold coins issued from Her Majesty’s London Mint are legal tender’. The Melbourne Mint began production 12 June 1872. The Melbourne Mint had a great deal of trouble when it first began production, the dies were not getting anywhere near the life they should with Michael Marsh quoting figures of “an average of 14,000 for the reverse dies and 8,000 for the obverse dies.”

By the time of its closure in 1931, the Melbourne Mint had gone on to produce the highest number of sovereigns issued by any branch of the Royal Mint – a true reflection of the richness of the goldfields of Bendigo & Ballarat. It was at these same goldfields that the notorious Eureka Stockade took place back in 1854 – an event influential in shaping the collective Australian psyche. The wealth of the Victorian goldfields, often when spent as gold sovereigns from the Melbourne Mint, forever transformed the architecture, society and culture of Australia. Much of this transformation may be traced through a collection of sovereigns from the Melbourne Mint.

A complete set of Melbourne Mint sovereigns spans 59 years, 7 obverse and reverse types, and 72 dates. Although a complete Melbourne sovereign set is nowhere as difficult to achieve as one from the Sydney Mint, there are enough truly rare coins in this series to present even the most earnest and well-funded collector with a challenge.

Many dates from the Melbourne Mint present themselves but once or twice a decade in superior quality, and are coveted by discerning collectors when they do happen to become available.

For collectors looking to select just one representative gold sovereign from the Melbourne Mint, the Queen Victoria Young Head obverse may be considered to be the preferred choice. The full spectrum of rarity and affordability may be found in both the Shield & St George series, leaving the collector with a wide range from which to select a coin which for them best captures the Eureka spirit of the Victorian goldfields.

The last issues were made in 1931 from Melbourne and Perth (The Sydney Mint had closed in 1926). In addition to bullion and general circulation sovereigns, the Melbourne mint made rare presentation coins for the Queen Victoria Jubilee in 1888 (A two pound piece) and another two-pound piece for the Coronation of King Edward VII. The Royal Mint closed in 1970 in Melbourne.

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