SettingsSettings Subscribe  

NumisTip

Australia Old Head

1900-M Proof Half Sovereign reverse 1900-M Proof Half Sovereign obverse

1900-M Proof Half Sovereign

Mintage:Unknown Reverse Designer:Benedetto Pistrucci Obverse Designer:Sir Thomas Brock Size:19mm Weight:3.99g Edge:Reeded Composition:91.67% Gold
8.33% Copper

Values

Sales History

In 1872, the newly established Melbourne Mint joined the Sydney Mint in striking full and half sovereigns, but it was not until 1899 that the Perth branch of the Royal Mint was opened to accommodate for gold deposits found in Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie (The Perth Mint, 2016) just as the Melbourne Mint had been established to accommodate Victoria's ample gold resources. The Perth Mint had a strong advocate in Sir John Forrest, the first Premier of Western Australia (The Perth Mint, 2016) . The Perth Mint struck gold sovereigns from its opening in 1899, and half sovereigns from 1900, until 1931 when Britain ceased using the gold standard (The Perth Mint, 2016) . During this time the mint struck approximately 106 million sovereigns and 735,000 half-sovereigns; it would then go on to mint bullion bars and decimal coinage (The Perth Mint, 2016) . On 1 July 1970, legal control of the mint transferred from Britain to the Western Australian Government (The Perth Mint, 2016) . Since 1987, following the Gold Corporation by a State Act, the Perth Mint has struck gold, silver and platinum legal tender, and is renowned for the purity of its metals, traditional workmanship and iconic series (The Perth Mint, 2016) . It continues to operate today at its original Hay Street premises, designed by George Temple Poole, which had a new adjacent building constructed in 2003, along with a refinery near the Perth airport which was opened in April 1990 (The Perth Mint, 2016) .

The Melbourne Mint continued to strike half sovereigns until 1915, and full sovereigns until 1931, then silver and copper coinage until its closure in 1968 (Monetarium (Australia) Pty Ltd, 2009) . The Sydney Mint closed in 1926 having produced gold, silver and copper coins throughout its time (Monetarium (Australia) Pty Ltd, 2009) . The Half Sovereign Old Head, or Veiled Head, was the fourth half sovereign series to be struck at an Australian mint, with business and proof strikes struck at both Sydney and Melbourne from 1893-1901. In 1900, the Old Head series became the first half sovereign series to be struck at the Perth Mint.

The obverse, designed by Sir Thomas Brock, depicts a portrait of an older Queen Victoria veiled, crowned and facing left. Sir Thomas Brock's initials, T.B., are positioned below the portrait's left shoulder. The legend reads VICTORIA DEI GRA BRITT REGINA FID DEF IND IMP.The reverse, designed by Benedetto Pistrucci, shows St. George, helmed and caped, riding a long-tailed horse and slaying a dragon. The ground bears a broken lance on the left, as well as the mintmark ('M' for Melbourne, 'S' for Sydney, 'P' for Perth) in the centre. The date is positioned below.

Reverse: Sydney Mint 'S' mintmark in the centre of the ground, below the horse's hooves and above the date. Reverse: Sydney Mint 'S' mintmark in the centre of the ground, below the horse's hooves and above the date.

Reverse: Melbourne Mint 'M' mintmark in the centre of the ground, below the horse's hooves and above the date. Reverse: Melbourne Mint 'M' mintmark in the centre of the ground, below the horse's hooves and above the date.

Reverse: Perth Mint 'P' mintmark in the centre of the ground, below the horse's hooves and above the date. Reverse: Perth Mint 'P' mintmark in the centre of the ground, below the horse's hooves and above the date.

The Old Head offers only one challenge to date set collectors, the 1893 Melbourne, the rarest circulation half sovereign with only five known examples, two of which are in the Royal Australian Mint Museum. Other than that, the series is readily available in all grades up to AU with some examples in mint state or better turning up from time to time. A lot of the dates, particularly in AU, have reduced in value considerably since the Reserve Bank of Australia sale (Downies, 2005) , which saw an oversupply of such dates reach the market. However, very few higher grade 1899 and 1900 Melbourne Mint half sovereigns were offered yet their prices were brought down by most catalogues indicating they may be somewhat undervalued.

Find out what dealers are paying with a subscription.

Subscribe now!

Find out what coins have actually sold for and where with a Standard/Professional subscription.

Subscribe now!