With the Australian gold rush of the 19th century, there was an abundance of gold in the country but a severe lack of cash, so much so that gold dust started to be used as a form of money. This caused many problems due to concerns around the purity and weight of the gold.
The solution was to open a branch of The Royal Mint, the first outside of Britain in centuries. Several cities in Australia campaigned to host the new mint, but it would be Sydney that was successful and to help set up the new mint, on the site of a former hospital, 20 staff from London were sent to Australia to help.
Jealous at being overlooked as the host city, there were reports from the press in Melbourne that the Sydney Sovereign was not to the same standard as those struck in Britain, but this was untrue. In fact, Sydney Sovereigns contained more silver alloy than their British counterparts, so people and businesses preferred the Sydney version.
Some of the early Sovereigns produced in Sydney had a unique design, showing Queen Victoria wreathed in native Australian banksia, but eventually they would look just like their British counterparts, except for the small ‘s’ mintmark. In the 70 years that Sydney produced circulated Sovereigns, an incredible 144 million were struck, worth 46 billion US dollars in today’s money.
We are pleased to be able to offer you one of those Sovereigns struck in 1916 and of all the Edward VII and George V Sovereigns struck at The Royal Mints branch Mint in Sydney, the 1916 Sovereign has the second-lowest mintage figure.
|Alloy||22 Carat Gold|
|Reverse Designer||Benedetto Pistrucci|
|Obverse Designer||Bertram Mackennal|
|Pure Metal Type||Gold|