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1853 Pattern Full Sovereign

Sydney Mint


Following the discovery of gold in Sydney, sovereigns were minted at the Sydney Mint from 1855 and continued until 1916. Prior to the discovery of gold, Australian colonies were reliant upon coins minted in Great Britain as these were the only coins recognised as having legal tender status (Reserve Bank of Australia, 2005) . The 1850s Gold Rush affected not only the mintage of coins but also sudden population growth, particularly in Victoria. In turn, this demanded sudden developments in government administration to manage standard utilities, land reform, communication and transport (Reserve Bank of Australia, 2005) . Proposals for the establishment of a Sydney branch of the Royal Mint started in 1851, these were met with some resistance from gold buyers and banks in Sydney, which profited from the transfer of gold from Australia to London for the purpose of minting coins (Melbourne Museum, 2016) . But in 1853, an order was eventually granted for the Sydney branch, and by 1855 it was in operation (Sydney Living Museums, 2016) . The Sydney Mint was set up in the southern wing of the hospital that had been part of Governor Lachlan Macquarie's building program. The hospital, finished in 1816, was initially set up to treat convicts; it became known as the ‘Sidney Slaughter House’ because of its notoriously poor conditions (Sydney Living Museums, 2016) . The southern wing then became a military hospital in 1823, and the Sydney Infirmary and Dispensary in 1842 (Sydney Living Museums, 2016) . The Sydney Mint contained offices, a bullion office, and a factory where it minted gold sovereigns and half sovereigns; in 1916 it began to mint commemorative medals, and copper and silver coins (Sydney Living Museums, 2016) . In 1915, due to the economic difficulties of the First World War, Australia left the Gold Standard but returned in 1925. In 1929, the Australian Government established the Commonwealth Bank Act , which required all holdings of gold by banks and the public to be sold to the Commonwealth Bank (now the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA)) in exchange for notes (The Perth Mint Australia, 2016) . Such restrictions lasted until 1976 (The Perth Mint Australia, 2016) . The Reserve Bank of Australia's 2005 auction of gold coins was a significant event in which a substantial amount of the RBA's gold coin holding was made available to collectors. Coins with great historical and numismatic value were retained in the Bank's Museum of Australian Currency Notes or moved to the Royal Australian Mint's National Coin Collection (Macfarlane, I, 2005) . Four pairs of 1853 sovereign and half sovereign pattern s were produced by the Royal Mint London in order to gain royal approval for the design in light of the imminent opening of the Sydney branch of the Royal Mint. The reverse , designed by Leonard Charles Wyon, bears the Sydney Mint banksia wreath design surrounding AUSTRALIA , and positioned below a crown with the legend SYDNEY MINT ONE SOVEREIGN encircling the design. This was the only time a colony would ever deviate from the imperial shield design, but it was short-lived with the Sydney Mint reverting to the imperial design in 1871. The obverse , designed by James Wyon, features the filleted bust of Queen Victoria facing left with the date 1853 below. The legend reads VICTORIA D: G: BRITANNIAR REGINA F:D: . Both the reverse and obverse show a thin rim and toothed denticles . Of the fours pairs of 1853 sovereign and half sovereign patterns that are known to exist, one pair resides in the British Museum and the only known pair in private hands sold at the Quartermaster Auction for $696,300 (Monetarium (Australia) Pty Ltd, 2009) , which was an ex Spink Australia sale in 1981 where they sold for $160,000. The two remaining pairs reside in the Royal Mint Museum in Wales (Coin Web, 2007) .

a facility that produces coinsThe intrinsic metal value of a coinA coin struck differing from the standard design to commemorate an eventA coin struck as a representation piece of a coin that never eventuatedThe tails side of the coinThe inscription around the inner edge of the coinThe heads side of the coinThe edge around a coin, often with beading or denticlesTooth like shapes around the edge of a coin(Reserve Bank of Australia, 2005)(Melbourne Museum, 2016)(Sydney Living Museums, 2016)(The Perth Mint Australia, 2016)(Macfarlane, I, 2005)(Monetarium (Australia) Pty Ltd, 2009)(Coin Web, 2007)
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