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Top 10 Australian certified coins sold in 2022

By CAA    |   Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Several unique and very rare sovereign coins were sold in May 2022 at the Central States World Coins & Ancient Coins Auction and mark this list. Here's the list of the most expensive Australian certified coins that sold in 2022 so far.

1. $772,800 - Sovereign 1920 Sydney - MS-64- NGC

Sovereign 1920 Sydney

Because of the rising price of gold (127s 4d per ounce) after World War I, the Royal Mint suspended the production of the sovereign. The mint branch in Sydney, Australia already started to produce some of them. 360,000 is the official minting of the 1920 Sydney Gold Sovereign, but only four circulating examples are known, one of them is part of the Royal Australian Mint Collection in Canberra. 1 specimen is also known.

1920 Sydney Gold Sovereign - Rarest Sovereign of Australia »

2. $537,600 - Sovereign 1853 - PR-63 NGC

Sovereign 1853

Presumed unique pattern in private hands, all other specimens are in museum collections. One presently residing in the British Museum, with the other two in the Royal Mint Museum in Wales. There are none in Australian institutions, and this date was absent from famed Murdoch Collection for both the Sovereign and 1/2 Sovereign.

Sovereign of 1853, the first Sovereign for the colony and one of only 4 originally produced. Commissioned following the announcement that Sydney would host the first Royal Mint branch outside of Britain in August 1853, this issue was produced by James Wyon as what was intended to be a design unique to the new mint. Completed over a year before the first circulating coins were struck at Sydney on June 23, 1855, Wyon captured a youthful portrait of Victoria in resolute and lifelike proportions that would be only slightly altered in the final design by his cousin, Leonard Charles Wyon, used on the emissions of 1855. It is thought that the reverse was loosely modeled on contemporary English 6 Pences and Shillings, with "Sydney Mint Australia" and the denomination arranged around a splay of flowers and a crown.

3. $336,000 - Sovereign 1855 - PR-65 NGC

Sovereign 1855

It has been supposed that only some three pattern examples of this issue exist in private hands, with the last having appeared on auction in January 2019 (PR-65 Cameo by PCGS), and another piece known in the Murdoch Collection. First portrayal of Wyon's famous "banksia" head. This design would not be formally adopted on the circulating coinage until 1857.

4. $327,600 - Sovereign 1856 - PR-65+ NGC

Sovereign 1856

One of just three known specimens and only the second in private hands. This is the finest surviving. While the example in the British Museum is not pictured online, the other privately held is a PR-62 Ultra Cameo.

5. $260,400 - Half-Sovereign 1855 - PR-66+ NGC

Dump 1913

5 other specimens are known:

In Proof Finish

  1. Noble Numismatics Auction 62 (November 1999, Lot 1419); Spink Noble Numismatics Auction 39 (July 1992, Lot 1044); Spink Australia Auction 6 (November 1981, Lot 983); John Ahbe Collection; Captain Vivian Hewitt Collection; Virgil Brand Collection; J. G. Murdoch Collection (Sotheby's July 1903, Lot 615) [part]
  2. The British Museum specimen (1935,0401.9027). Bequeathed to the British Museum by Thomas Bryan Clarke-Thornhill in 1935

In Circulated Condition

  1. The Museums Victoria, Melbourne specimen (NU 3130); Transferred from the National Gallery of Victoria, March 15, 1976; Donated by A.H.F. Baldwin in 1929
  2. The Walter Eigner specimen. Noble Numismatics Auction 112 (July 2016, Lot 1769); Spink Australia Auction 15 (March 1985, Lot 474). Certified VF Details (Graffiti) by PCGS.
  3. The W.E. Purnell specimen; Noble Numismatics Auction 101 (November 2012, Lot 1477)

6. $218,400 - Half-Sovereign 1853 - PR-62 NGC

Half-Sovereign 1853

The Pattern Sovereigns of this date, just 4 Proof 1/2 Sovereigns were originally produced, one of which is held by the British Museum, with two others in the possession of the Royal Mint Museum in Wales.

Deemed too costly to ship all the way back to England to use for the Crown's coinage, the Legislative Council of New South Wales had petitioned Queen Victoria as early as December 1851 to establish a local mint near the port at Sydney for the coining of this gold, a petition that was followed in subsequent years by further appeals, particularly after the closure of the Government Assay Office at Adelaide in February 1853. While James Wyon's trademark fillet head design would only see use in circulation for less than a year after the Sydney branch mint opened in 1855, the monetary revolution it heralded in Australia would endure for decades to come.

7. $201,600 - Half-Sovereign 1856 - PR-65+ NGC

Half-Sovereign 1856

3 traceable examples in auction records from the last several decades and likely still held privately, the other two appearing in Noble Numismatics Auction 62, also ex. Spink Australia Sale 22 and another formerly in the Pretoria Mint South Africa Collection up to 1996, and offered by Noble Numismatics in their Auction 80. One example is held by the British Museum, while the Museums Victoria record none among their holdings, nor did Hocking note any in the Royal Mint Museum's collection.

8. $48,384 - Adelaide One Pound 1852 - MS-64 NGC

Adelaide One Pound 1852

Because of the tremendous shortage of coins at that time in Australia and while gold dust and nuggets were in ample supply, it was decided to create one pound coins as a way to convert that gold into circulating currency. But the government of South Australia, didn't wait for Royal assent and England approval, saying that the Assay Office was not a legal entity and should not be striking the coins, before producing a short quantity of these one pound gold coins. Therefore, the amended 1852 Bullion Act was rejected.

Adelaide One Pound 1852 Price Guide and Values »

9. $35,500 - Penny 1930 - EF-40 PCGS

Penny 1930

Even if no 1930 penny were ordered, at the end of 1929, the Mint made the dies for a 1930 penny and struck a few of them. The most famous of all the Australian Commonwealth circulating coins, the 1930 pre-decimal penny, was minted at around 3,000 examples (source: PCGS and Krause) for circulation and 6 in proof finish. Mostly because of the Great Depression which began in October 1929, there was no need for that coin. The 1929 and a small number of 1930 pennies were released into circulation at the same time in 1929.

1930 Penny - King of Australian Coins »

10. $22,464 - Sovereign 1923 Sydney - MS-62 NGC

Sovereign 1923 Sydney

Mintage of 416,000 pieces, but in the understanding that some 90 million Sovereigns were melted down and converted into bars for the Bank of England in the early 1930s, with a sizeable portion of those coming from the South African and Australian mints. Thus, it is believed that an extremely small group of specimens, perhaps no more than 25 pieces with this date and mint combination, have survived.

Sovereign 1923 Price Guide and Values »

11. $21,000 - Half Penny 1920 - SP-65 PCGS

Uncirculated and collector australian coins - Price Guide

Top 10 Australian certified coins sold in 2021

Pictures by Heritage Auctions and PCGS.

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