Red SheetSubscribeWhat is my coin worth?About

1856 Alternate Reverse Half Sovereign

Sydney Filleted Bust


The 1856 Alternate Reverse Half Sovereign, first identified in a Spink Auction in 1981(Crellin, A, 2015) but incorrectly attributed as having the 1853 pattern reverse is one of the more interesting varieties to come out of the early days of the Sydney mint. Its origin and purpose is a mystery but given the Sydney mint's constant shortage of dies as evidenced by the amount of tooling done to extend their working life in many of the early years, it is likely that this die was some sort of pattern or discarded die that was put into use to satisfy the colony's demand for gold coin.

The best defining feature is the lack of a berry in the wreath at 7 o'clock, there are other subtle differences in the wreath and bow as well as seen below:

The Alternate Reverse lacks the berry above L of HALF

The 1856 Standard Reverse has a berry above L of HALF

One thing is for sure though, this variety is rare with just one confirmed example prior to the release of the Reserve Bank gold holdings with offered just three more to the marketplace(Downies, 2005). Since then an additional eight have been identified bringing the total examples known up to 12(Crellin, A, 2015). Almost all of these pieces are heavily circulated though one XF-AU level piece is known.

Considering the survival rate of the era of about 1 in 400 coins, this piece probably had a mintage of about 5000 pieces ruling out it being a pattern striking as was previously thought though it is still no doubt extremely rare.

a facility that produces coinsA coin struck differing from the standard design to commemorate an eventA cylindrical punch with an inverse impression of a coin design used to strike coinsThe tails side of the coinA coin bearing a design or date not used in circulation(Reserve Bank of Australia, 2005)(Melbourne Museum, 2016)(Sydney Living Museums, 2016)(Sydney Living Museums, 2016)(The Perth Mint Australia, 2016)(Macfarlane, I, 2005)(Melbourne Museum, 2016)Downies, 2005A coin bearing a slightly different design to the normal issueCrellin, A, 2015

Values are in AUD and are retail price estimations based on past sales of coins certified by PCGS or NGC and as such values only related to such graded coins. Uncertified coins or coins graded by other services would likely be worth significantly less. For wholesale pricing please refer to the Red Sheet. While all attempts to ensure accurate pricing, data entry errors can occur and as such no warranty is expressed or implied as to the accuracy of any information published on this website. It is important to verify all published sales to ensure the accuracy of the pricing when making any purchase decision. Any personal information provided to us is protected by the Privacy Act 1988.