Queen Victoria 1880 HALF SOVEREIGN Sydney Mint Reference - Mc# 20 / S# 3862D
Obverse: Young Head of Queen Victoria, legend around and date below
Reverse: Coronate shield within wreath, mintmark below. Toothed border, cross touches border, 147 denticles.
The second finest known example of this rare Young Head variety.
This particular Young Head half sovereign was struck with the 5 / 3 die combination - there is a thick border around the rim of the obverse, while the reverse has a toothed border.
It is the first Australian half sovereign to have been struck with this specific pair of dies. The fact there has been only a few examples of this die combination sighted to date indicates that the 4th reverse die was introduced fairly early into the production run of half sovereigns at the Sydney Mint in 1880.
To the uninitiated, the different obverse varieties of the Young Head half sovereigns can be infuriatingly similar. The two images below show that while the changes from one type to the next may indeed be minor, the changes between the first type (on the left), and the fifth type (on the right) are quite significant indeed.
At the time of the auction of the Quartermaster Collection in Sydney in June 2009, this coin was regarded by the dealers and auctioneer at Monetarium as being the finest known example of this rare die type.
To demonstrate just how much better this coin is than the rest of its population, the finest of the six examples of the 1880-S 5/3 half sovereign in the auction of the Reserve Bank of Australia gold coin archives held back in 2005 was only graded about Extremely Fine - the others were as low as about Very Fine. The difference in quality between this coin and the others that have turned up in recent years really is night and day.
Our survey of auction activity since the auction of the Quartermaster collection took place in June 2009 shows that there has been only one coin better than about Extremely Fine to make itself available over the past six years.
This particular coin is definitely an excellent example for the dedicated half sovereign collector looking to build a complete set of Young Head half sovereigns in premium grade.
Click the PCGS icon below to verify the certificate details for this coin directly on the PCGS website.
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