1875 Sydney Young Head Half Sovereign Unc (PCGS MS63)
Obverse: Young Head of Victoria to left, legend around, date below.
Reverse: Coronate shield within wreath, mintmark below. Cross on top of shield clear from the border. 147 denticles.
Grade: Uncirculated (PCGS MS 63)
Reference #'s: Mc# 017 / S# 3862b
This attractive half-sovereign is PCGS finest for the date.
Australian half sovereigns with the Young Head of Queen Victoria are incredibly rare in mint state, the 1875 Sydney is certainly no exception.
Half sovereigns were the workhorse coin of the Australian economy during this era - whereas the sovereign was used more as a store of value, half sovereigns were far more often spent, rather than set aside for a rainy day.
With a stated thickness of just 1.52mm, the half-sovereign is also a relatively thin coin. It is only very slightly wider than the five-cent coin we use today, and having been struck in 22-carat gold, is obviously far softer.
As a consequence of the coin's size, thickness and hardness, the vast majority of Australian half sovereigns struck between the mid-1850s and through to at least the mid-1880s, are these days only ever seen in very heavily circulated condition.
Our research into the rarity of this 1875 Sydney half sovereign shows us that it is easily ranked amongst the finest known examples to have ever appeared on the open market.
The most recent 1875 Sydney half-sovereign in comparable condition to appear for sale via auction was the coin in the Quartermaster Collection - widely acknowledged as being "The most comprehensive collection of Australian gold coins ever assembled."
Sold in June 2009, the Quartermaster Collection coin was knocked down at a high bid of $24,000 against a pre-sale estimate of $22,000, for a nett price of $25,320.
A comparison of the images of this coin with those of the example in the Quartermaster Collection shows that this coin holds up very well indeed.
The only other 1875 Sydney Half Sovereign in Uncirculated condition to appear at auction after the mid-1970s was included in the sale of a collection described in their Sale 48 catalogue (July 1995) as being "...the finest collection of currency half sovereigns extant". That coin was described as having "One minute hairline scratch below neck otherwise satin-like mint boom."
That anecdotal qualification of the grade may mean that the coin will not be accepted for grading by PCGS, should it be presented.
There have been several periods when they were indeed easily the hottest items an Australian collector could aspire to own.
This is an opportunity to lock in what is currently the finest independently-graded example of this historic Australian coin.
Click the PCGS icon below to verify the certificate details for this coin directly on the PCGS website.
PCGS Certificate Number: 34688145
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