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1879 Sydney Young Head St George Reverse Sovereign PCGS AU58

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1879 Sydney Young Head St George Reverse Sovereign PCGS AU58

A truly attractive example of this key date.

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1879 Sydney Young Head St George Reverse Sovereign PCGS AU58

Obverse: Queen Victoria Young Head - Portrait one

Reverse: St George & Dragon Long tail BP

A truly attractive example of this key date.

The rarity of Australia's sovereigns struck during the Young Head era were affected by a range of factors - the amount of gold presented at the Sydney and Melbourne Mints, as well as the proportion of that gold that was intended for export to South East Asia.

Gold sovereigns intended for export were struck with the Shield reverse design, for a curious reason.

Chinese merchants were thought to be reluctant to accept payment in gold sovereigns featuring the St George reverse design, as it depicted a dragon in, what they thought, was a subservient position.

The dragon has long been used as a symbol of the Chinese Emperor's strength power, so the manner in which the dragon was depicted was of utmost importance to the Chinese.

It is hardly surprising then that Chinese merchants may have refused to accept coins featuring an image of a dragon being slain!

The rarity of the 1879 Sydney Young Head sovereign is an indicator that the majority of the sovereigns struck at Sydney in that year featured the Shield reverse design - the 1879 Sydney Shield is far more readily available than the 1879 Sydney Young Head.

The 1879 Sydney sovereign is one of the rarest Sydney sovereigns struck between 1871 and 1887 - only the 1871 Sydney Young Head sovereign is rarer.

The 1871 Sydney sovereign has the cachet of being the first date in the series, however the 1879 was struck during a turbulent and compelling period.

1879 was the year that the notorious Ned Kelly gang raided the Bank of New South Wales at Jerilderie.

The Kelly Gang stole more than £2,000 from the bank, chopped down the town's telegraph poles, locked the police in their own cells, and booked up the cost of shoeing their horses to the police.

1879 was also the year that the bushranger known as Captain Moonlite was captured by police at a station near Gundagai in NSW.

25 people were taken hostage, and in the ensuring shoot-out, two of Captain Moonlite's gang were killed.

Moonlite (otherwise known as Andrew George Scott) and the other surviving gang member were both hanged at Darlinghurst gaol several months later.

All of this activity proved just how desirable the solid gold wealth of Australia's sovereigns were.

This particular 1879 Sydney sovereign is clearly still in attractive condition - the fine details across the reverse all remain sharp, while the obverse has just a hint of friction across the portrait, with some very light bagging in the obverse fields.

A better example will cost at least twice the price, making this coin excellent value for money.

Click the PCGS icon below to verify the certificate details for this coin directly on the PCGS website.

PCGS Certificate Verification 35278876