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Australia Sydney Filleted Bust

1855  Half Sovereign reverse 1855  Half Sovereign obverse

1855 Half Sovereign

Mint:Sydney Mint Monarch:Victoria Reverse Designer:L. C. Lyon Obverse Designer:James Lyon Size:19mm Weight:3.99g Edge:Reeded Composition:91.67% Gold
8.33% Silver


Sales History


The iconic first business strike half sovereigns struck at the Sydney Mint were dated 1855 and 1856. The 1855 is one of the key Australian rarities with considerable Australian and international demand. It is estimated that 50 to 60 examples survived the initial small mintage of 21,000 with most being heavily worn or otherwise damaged.

A total of seven examples were found in the Reserve Bank holdings, auctioned off by Downies in 2005 (Downies, 2005) with very few examples appearing on the market since then with NumisBid auctioning off an example in 2016, PCGS graded XF45 which realised AU$61,000 (Eigner, W, 2016) and another example graded AU50 by PCGS being sold via private treaty that same year.

All 1855 Sydney mint Half Sovereigns bear a dot after the date which can be used as a diagnostic criteria for authenticating examples of this rare issue.

Dot after the date on 1855 half sovereigns Dot after the date on 1855 half sovereigns

Acquiring this issue in mint state is likely impossible with no known example surviving in such grades, the finest known examples tend to range around the XF to low-AU levels and command strong prices due to limited supply.

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