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Australia Sydney Wreathed Bust

1857  Half Sovereign reverse 1857  Half Sovereign obverse

1857 Half Sovereign

Figure shared with:
1857/5 Overdate
Mint:Sydney Mint Monarch:Victoria Reverse Designer:L. C. Lyon Obverse Designer:L. C. Lyon Size:19mm Weight:3.99g Edge:Reeded Composition:91.67% Gold
8.33% Silver


Sales History


The 1857 is one of the easier dates in the series with an initial mintage of 537,000, relative high for this era. This is complemented by a number of high grade examples surfacing from the India hoard (Noble, J, 2016) . The date often features re-entered lettering, a technique employed by the Sydney mint to prolong the working life of dies though evidence of their overuse can be seen with numerous die cracks and other damage associated with overworked dies. Additionally the 1855 Type II die was used to supplement production through overdating.

While typically prospectors wanted their gold coined in sovereign for ideal storage and transportation, the half sovereign was favoured for circulation and the growing local economy from the gold rush and associated immigration led to an increased demand for half sovereigns resulting in this higher mintage figure.

Despite this, the low survival rate of this era resulted in this date being difficult to acquire overall in any grade though quite a bit easier than most other dates in the series.

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