1866 Sydney Mint Type II Sovereign Choice Unc (PCGS MS63)
Obverse: Type II portrait of Queen Victoria to left, date below and legend around
Reverse: "Australia" within wreath.
A superb example of the Type II sovereign.
Up until the late 1990s, Sydney Mint sovereigns were incredibly scarce in any condition and commanded strong prices in premium, mint-state quality.
It was around that time a good quantity of Type II Sydney Mint sovereigns came onto the Australian collector market - these coins had originated in India, of all places.
These coins had been exported from Sydney to India's main commercial centres and were used to pay British soldiers serving there (in the Sikh wars as I understand it).
As the soldiers spent them with local merchants, and those merchants then used them to pay their suppliers and so on, the sovereigns made their way up the economic food chain to the coffers of some of the wealthiest people in India.
Folklore has it that descendants of these families (several generations removed) had been given the coins to sell in London, the proceeds of which would be used to fund tuition at Oxford and Cambridge.
While I don't have any primary evidence to corroborate this admittedly "romantic" story, I am of the firm opinion that this is pretty much fact. Most of these "Out of India" sovereigns were dated 1866, 1867, 1868 or 1870.
In my experience over the past few decades, the date regarded as being the most readily available and the date regarded as being the rarest rose and fell several times.
The PCGS population report currently shows that the number of 1866 sovereigns that have been graded is nearly double that of the 1870 - this in no way reflects the number of each coin that I've handled.
I believe this relative rarity can only settle down over time, as the remaining population of these coins is graded.
Click the PCGS icon below to verify the certificate details for this coin directly on the PCGS website.
PCGS Certificate Number: 29534565
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