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Half Sovereign

1871 - 87

Young Head

The Shield reverse, Young Head series was struck from 1871 to 1887 at the Sydney and Melbourne mints. Both mints went through a number of different reverse and obverse varieties during this period making for one of the more interesting series and all dates are reasonably affordable in low grades though some such as the 1885 Melbourne, coming from a tiny 11,000 mintage are very scarce in any grade. When considering varieties however, the key date is the 1881 Sydney crenulated reverse type which is known by only a handful of examples and was unlisted by Marsh(Marsh, M. A., 2004). Marsh however lists an 1882 Sydney for this type though no examples have surfaced on the open market. It is likely that this issue was struck but in very small numbers. Considering that the survival rate of the era is about 5%, if they were struck in small numbers, it is likely that very few or none have survived.

In top grades however the Young Head series is very difficult with many dates just not having any surviving examples in mint state. The higher survival rate in high grade of the Sydney mint series is more likely to do with the design being different, and uniquely Australian at the time that the pieces were often hoarded after the introduction of the Imperial design.

The reverse features the Imperial shield design with the legend BRITANNIARUM REGINA FID DEF while the obverse features the Young Head effigy of Queen Victoria with the legend VICTORIA DEI GRATIA with the date at the bottom of the coin. The mint can be determined by either an S or M mintmark underneath the shield on the reverse. The absence of a mintmark or the presence of a die number indicates the piece was struck at the Royal mint in London.

The S mintmark under the shield

The M mintmark under the shield

The tails side of the coina facility that produces coinsa facility that produces coinsA coin bearing a slightly different design to the normal issueThe heads side of the coinThe number of coins struck of a particular designationA coin bearing a slightly different design to the normal issueMarsh, M. A., 2004The dates which are most difficult to acquire in a seriesThe inscription around the inner edge of the coinA marking, usually a letter indicating the mint which a coin was struck atA number on a coin indicating which die struck the coinThe state of a coin which shows no evidence of circulation

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.