The discovery of gold in the colonies of New South Wales and Victoria caused heavy migration from the other colonies and
the rest of the world, with individuals pursuing the chance of achieving great wealth through the discovery of gold. This
migration caused voids in their home economies with reductions in workers and jobs, and, of course, savings were withdrawn
in gold coin, causing a number of problems for banks as they could no longer keep their banknotes in circulation because
they required gold reserves. South Australia was hit particularly hard by this with an estimated 16,000 people, half the
male population of South Australia, having left for the gold fields. By 1852 it had seemed that total economic collapse was
unavoidable.While gold could be transported to the Royal mint in London and exchanged for gold
coin, the enormity of the issue called for an urgent solution and it would be another 3 years before a branch of the Royal
Mint would be opened in Australia. The South Australian government therefore authorised the Adelaide Assay Office to initially
produce, from Victorian gold, ingots, and thereafter tokens, both of which were authorised to be held as reserves by banks
thereby saving the local banks from withdrawing their banknotes
(Museum Victoria, 2010)
.This move would not be considered legal until they had approval from the British government but the urgency of
the situation saw them start the operation while approval was requested. The British government declined the request but
by the time this message was received, the Adelaide Assay Office had already struck almost 25,000 tokens, each with the face
value of one pound, after which the assay office was shut down, having saved the local economy.While dies
used to strike sovereigns and half sovereigns were made in London and then later in Melbourne, due to the urgency of the
situation, the dies for the Adelaide assay tokens were prepared locally by Joshua Payne. dies were prepared for the one pound token and the five pound token though no original five pound specimens
are known.The first one pound design, dubbed the Adelaide Pound Type I, features a beaded inner circle on the
reverse and a crenulated inner circle on the obverse. This hand produced die was imperfect and subsequently cracked, presumably after the first circulation strike as no circulation
strikes without the die crack are known. The die crack occurs through 'D'
of 'DWT' from the rim to the inner circle.
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