Mintage:537,000 Figure shared with: 1857 1857/5 Overdate Mint:Sydney MintMonarch:VictoriaReverse Designer:L. C. LyonObverse Designer:L. C. LyonSize:19mmWeight:3.99gEdge:ReededComposition:91.67% Gold 8.33% Silver
One of the more enigmatic dates of the Sydney mint Type II or Wreathed Bust series is the 1855, struck in
coin die alignment
like the proof strikes. While Royal mint records show 21,000
half sovereigns were struck in 1855, these certainly bore the Type I bust as the Type II
were probably in London where the
strikes were being struck. This means that either the 1855 business strike was struck in London
or it was struck at a later date. Considering that all three known examples turned up in circulation and that the
was known to have been transferred to Sydney as evidenced by the existence of the 1857/5
overdate, the latter
is more likely to be true making the 1855 the scarcest circulating branch
mint half sovereign.
Further to this, the existence of the aforementioned
would place the probable date of manufacturer to 1857, perhaps as a prelude to the overdating of the die. It is not known
how many were struck as no independent
figures exist but considering the typical survival rates of the era of 1 in 400, 3 surviving examples would indicate a
figure of about 1200. It is presumed that after these pieces were struck the die was
so as to match the year of production.
Of the three surviving examples, one was offered at auction by Spink Australia in 1985 with an estimate of $20,000
(Spink Australia, 1979)
, a second sold in 2012 through Noble Numismatics for $133,975
(Noble, J, 2012)
while the final example is in the Museum of Victoria
(Museums Victoria Collections, 2015)
which was acquired from A. H. Baldwin in 1929.
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