Half sovereigns were struck at the Sydney, Melbourne and Perth mints from 1911 to 1920. Despite the relatively high proportion
of surviving coins in AU or better, in recent times they have become difficult to acquire in true
The date is positioned below and the designer's initials, B.P., appear on the far right below the ground.
Although over one million half sovereigns were struck at Australian mints during the reign of George V, few were used
in circulation due to the introduction of
PCGS have certified fourteen coins from the George V series into MS66 and one MS66 (PCGS Population Report, 2016) which command very strong premiums over pieces in lower grades, often up to double MS65 values. Many coins, especially those from the Perth and Melbourne mints, are often very softly struck and are difficult to obtain above MS64.
The obverse of the coin is very hard-wearing, with the highest point being the end of George V's moustache which typically wears off below the AU grading. The reverse wears much more easily, but due to the frequency of weakly struck examples and the superior obverse, AU pieces are often mistaken as being mint state.
A typical mint state half sovereign of George V makes MS62 to MS64 for the later dates, though may drop down to MS63 occasionally. Coins graded below this have almost always been circulated but due to their hard-wearing nature still make the mint state grades. Most dates are quite common below mint state but still in demand due to the scarcity of mint state examples and because they are generally quite pleasing to the eye, even in AU.
The 1915 Melbourne is probably the second or third scarcest date in the series, after the 1918 Perth. But it occurs more frequently in Uncirculated as by this stage very few gold coins were in circulation. It is unavailable beyond this due to the typically soft strikes from the Melbourne Mint and is highly underrated and almost certainly scarcer than the Perth Mint issue of the year. The reverse of the 1915 Melbourne is generally quite poorly struck and one should be careful not to confuse this with wear. It is estimated that approximately 1500 examples have survived.
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