Australia Sydney Mint Gold Sovereigns Guide.

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Australia earliest Sovereign was a Young Head Victoria – the reverse design of which was taken directly from the English Shilling (a common currency at that time in Australia)

The Royal Mint in Sydney today. 10 Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW, 2000

Sydney Mint Gold Sovereigns By Year (Table)

1871Victoria Young Head1871 Gold Sovereign Sydney2814000
1872Victoria Young Head1872 Gold Sovereign Sydney1815000
1873Victoria Young Head1873 Gold Sovereign Sydney1478000
1874Victoria Young Head1874 Gold Sovereign Sydney1899000
1875Victoria Young Head1875 Gold Sovereign Sydney2122000
1876Victoria Young Head1876 Gold Sovereign Sydney1613000
1877Victoria Young Head1877 Gold Sovereign Sydney1590000
1878Victoria Young Head1878 Gold Sovereign Sydney1259000
1879Victoria Young Head1879 Gold Sovereign Sydney1459000
1880Victoria Young Head1880 Gold Sovereign Sydney1459000
1881Victoria Young Head1881 Gold Sovereign Sydney1360000
1882Victoria Young Head1882 Gold Sovereign Sydney1298000
1883Victoria Young Head1883 Gold Sovereign Sydney1108000
1884Victoria Young Head1884 Gold Sovereign Sydney1595000
1885Victoria Young Head1885 Gold Sovereign Sydney1486000
1886Victoria Young Head1886 Gold Sovereign Sydney1667000
1887Victoria Young Head1887 Gold Sovereign Sydney1000000
1888Victoria Jubilee Head1888 Gold Sovereign Sydney2187000
1889Victoria Jubilee Head1889 Gold Sovereign Sydney3262000
1890Victoria Jubilee Head1890 Gold Sovereign Sydney2808000
1891Victoria Jubilee Head1891 Gold Sovereign Sydney2596000
1892Victoria Jubilee Head1892 Gold Sovereign Sydney2837000
1893Victoria Jubilee Head1893 Gold Sovereign Sydney1346000
1894Victoria Old Head1894 Gold Sovereign Sydney3067000
1895Victoria Old Head1895 Gold Sovereign Sydney2758000
1896Victoria Old Head1896 Gold Sovereign Sydney2544000
1897Victoria Old Head1897 Gold Sovereign Sydney2532000
1898Victoria Old Head1898 Gold Sovereign Sydney2548000
1899Victoria Old Head1899 Gold Sovereign Sydney3259000
1900Victoria Old Head1900 Gold Sovereign Sydney3586000
1901Victoria Old Head1901 Gold Sovereign Sydney3012000
1902Edward VII1902 Gold Sovereign Sydney2813000
1903Edward VII1903 Gold Sovereign Sydney2806000
1904Edward VII1904 Gold Sovereign Sydney2986000
1905Edward VII1905 Gold Sovereign Sydney2778000
1906Edward VII1906 Gold Sovereign Sydney2792000
1907Edward VII1907 Gold Sovereign Sydney2539000
1908Edward VII1908 Gold Sovereign Sydney2017000
1909Edward VII1909 Gold Sovereign Sydney2057000
1910Edward VII1910 Gold Sovereign Sydney2135000
1911George V Large Head1911 Gold Sovereign Sydney2,519,000
1912George V Large Head1912 Gold Sovereign Sydney2227000
1913George V Large Head1913 Gold Sovereign Sydney2249000
1914George V Large Head1914 Gold Sovereign Sydney1774000
1915George V Large Head1915 Gold Sovereign Sydney1346000
1916George V Large Head1916 Gold Sovereign Sydney1242000
1917George V Large Head1917 Gold Sovereign Sydney1667000
1918George V Large Head1918 Gold Sovereign Sydney3716000
1919George V Large Head1919 Gold Sovereign Sydney1835000
1920George V Large Head1920 Gold Sovereign Sydney360000
1921George V Large Head1921 Gold Sovereign Sydney839000
1922George V Large Head1922 Gold Sovereign Sydney578000
1923George V Large Head1923 Gold Sovereign Sydney416000
1924George V Large Head1924 Gold Sovereign Sydney394000
1925George V Large Head1925 Gold Sovereign Sydney5632000
1926George V Large Head1926 Gold Sovereign Sydney1031050

This featured a slightly different Young Head of Queen Victoria.

This is known as the Type 1 Australian Sovereign. This was minted at the Sydney Mint in 1855 and 1856 at the Sydney Mint and had a mintmark S below the wreath on the reverse. It had a silver content of 8.33 %. Please note that the Sydney Mint did not produce a sovereign during 1869.

  • Young Head Sovereigns. In 1857 the portrait of Queen Victoria was changed to a more Australian version. This featured Queen Victoria wearing a hairstyle with a wreath of native banksia.
    • This design was unique in any British designed coinage.
    • The reverse design remaining unchanged from 1855-56 Type I Sovereigns, this Sovereign became very much sought after.
    • Because this sovereign had a silver content rather than copper this enhanced its popularity. It was a paler color.
    • Sovereigns minted between 1857 and 1864 are some of the scarcest and rarest dates.
    • Sovereigns minted between 1866 to 1870 are more desirable in higher grades.

The Shield Reverse Young Head Sovereigns were minted concurrently with the St George Reverse Sovereigns by both the Sydney and Melbourne Mints. Slaying a dragon was not acceptable in India so the sovereigns were minted with a shield on the reverse. Mintage figure are difficult to ascertain as many sovereigns were re-struck or melted down when they became worn. No Sovereigns were minted in 1876.

  • Queen Victoria Young Head St. George Reverse Gold Sovereign 1871-1887
  • Queen Victoria Young Head St. George “Reverse Gold Sovereign 1871-1887

This Sovereign was one of the most popular series of Australian coins. It was Minted by both the Sydney and Melbourne Mints concurrently with the Shield Reverse. Before the discovery of the Douro shipwreck all the early pre-1881 dates were extremely difficult to obtain.

  • Jubilee Sovereigns.
    • These were minted in 1887 to celebrate 50 years of reign of Queen Victoria.
      • These sovereigns were minted until 1893 when they were replaced by the more mature Veiled head style. (Old Head Sovereigns).
  • Old Head Sovereigns.
    • These were minted for seven years and are a very popular coin for both type collectors and date/mint collectors.
      • The whole series consists of only 14 coins. The rarest date is the first minted 1887 Sydney, however several of the dates are much scarcer than the price indicates and some appear undervalued in uncirculated and higher grades.
  • Veiled Head Sovereigns.
    • Queen Victoria Veiled Head St. George Reverse Gold Sovereign 1893-1901
      • Queen Victoria Veiled Head St. George Reverse Sovereigns were minted between 1893 and 1901 until Queen Victoria’s death.
The Royal Mint in Sydney in 1888

Sydney’s gold sovereigns offer collectors an intriguing study in Australia’s economy between 1855 and 1926. The rarity of many gold coins from the Sydney Mint were shaped by such significant events as the gold rushes of the late 1800’s, the land depression of 1893 and the economic boom of the 1920’s. As an example of how the Sydney sovereign series reflects Australia’s alternating economic fortunes during this telling period, within the space of a mere five years, the Sydney Mint had issued both our rarest and most common gold sovereigns. Further to that, a year later the Mint was forced to close – ironically due to the fact it was no longer able to earn a profit from minting coins.

A complete set of Sydney sovereigns covers 71 years, 8 obverse and reverse types & 88 different dates. It includes some of the rarest coins ever issued by Australia, and to complete it is a significant achievement – one that has been accomplished less than a handful of times this century. The prestige surrounding the few which have been completed has lasted long after their owners have passed on – one for near to a century.

For collectors looking to obtain just one gold sovereign from the Sydney Mint, the Queen Victoria Type II obverse is clearly the preferred choice. Its uniquely Australian designs were traded at business centres the world over for decades. They remain an enduring symbol of the Sydney Mint’s work in transforming Australia’s first major mineral resource into the lifeblood of a nation.

The New south Wales Sovereign with the wreath and Australia on reverse 1866 to 1870 contained silver instead of copper on some, others contained copper. An argument broke out between the Sydney and Melbourne mints, during Victorian day’s where the Melbourne mint said, their sovereigns were better than Sydney mint ones. When PYX tests were done, authorized by the Royal mint on Melbourne and Sydney mint, it was found that in fact the Sydney mint Sovereigns were slightly better than Melbourne Sovereigns, So New south Wales won the argument. Some old head Sydney mint Sovereigns are also very yellow in color due to silver being used instead of copper. Also, some George V 1911 half Sovereigns are also very brass, color due to silver used by the Royal mint instead of copper

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