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 1916 Sydney is the second most common date in the series, after the 1915-S and the last half sovereign produced by the Sydney Mint. By this stage, very few gold coins were in circulation which resulted in most 1916 Sydney Mint half sovereigns remaining close to mint state condition.
The date is readily available right up to MS64, though it frequently exhibits a softly struck reverse which precludes gradings beyond this.
Despite this, the date is known up to MS66 (PCGS Population Report, 2016) but obtaining an example in such a high grading would by no means be an easy task.
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