Mintage:UnknownReverse Designer:Benedetto PistrucciObverse Designer:G. W. De SaulesSize:19mmWeight:3.99gEdge:ReededComposition:91.67% Gold 8.33% Copper
The first half sovereigns struck under King Edward VII were struck in 1902 following His Majesty's coronation. This series
was the fifth half sovereign series to be struck at Australian mints. The obverse, designed
by George William De Saulles, features an uncrowned bust of Edward VII on the obverse, facing towards the right. The legend
reads EDWARDVS VII D: G: BRITT: OMN: REX F: D: IND: IMP:.
The Type I reverse, designed by Benedetto Pistrucci, is featured on Edward VII half sovereigns
from 1902 to 1905, with Australian mint pattern s struck bearing the date of 1906. It 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.
This design is slightly smaller than the Type II reverse and lacks the designer's initials, B.P.
Approximately 375,000 half sovereigns were struck for this type making it quite difficult to acquire, especially if sought
in better condition. Typical mint state examples grade MS61 to MS62, with examples above MS62 practically
impossible to source in any date other than the 1902 Sydney; the Quartermaster sale did offer a 1903 Sydney, which would
have likely certified at MS64 or higher, that realized $5,486
Of the series, the 1904 Perth is by far the toughest date to acquire, being extremely rare above AU; while the 1903 Sydney
is the most common date, in general owing to the highest mintage, although the 1902 Sydney
is much easier to acquire in mint state. This is due to a large hoard of mint state 1902 Sydney
half sovereigns distributed by Noble Numismatics. The 1902 Sydney has been sighted with two different finishes: a brilliant finish and a matte finish. The brilliant finish is slightly scarcer in the upper grades, while
no distinction can be made between the two in the circulated grades. Coming from a mintage of only 84,000, it is quite difficult
to acquire with lower grade examples very rarely appearing on the market.
Proofs are known dated 1902 from the Sydney Mint and are available with both the matte and brilliant finishes.
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