The 1852 Adelaide Pound is Australia’s first gold coin, minted in response to problems caused by the discovery of gold at Mount Alexander (Victoria) in November 1851.
It is one of Australia’s rarest and most coveted coins, and is seldom seen on the collector market.
The story surrounding its conception, production and withdrawal has several threads that have been shown to have enduring appeal – the perseverance and foresight of George Tinline; the leadership of Sir Henry Young; the ingenuity of the Assay Office staff and the enterprise of all those that flocked to the goldfields are all stories that strike a chord with Australians in the 21st century.
The Adelaide Ingots and Pounds remain to this day as solid testament to Australian ingenuity during a period of social and economic turmoil.
From an economic perspective, research into the gradual move from gold nuggets and dust being exchanged for goods to the return of sovereigns in daily trade is a unique and intriguing case study of the evolution of money in an Australian context.
The appeal of these national heirlooms to historians and collectors is heightened further when their rarity and fragile beauty in superior quality is considered.