Australia 1856-S sovereign

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Heritage sale 3037, lot 30998
photo courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries

This specimen was lot 30998 in Heritage sale 3037 (New York, January 2015), where it sold for $44,650. The catalog description[1] noted, "Victoria gold Sovereign 1856-(SY) MS61 NGC, Sydney mint. A lovely, mint-state example with luminous golden color and considerable flash in the fields. Well-struck devices are immediately apparent with special attention to the reverse design. Although the surfaces do present minor blemishes, the overall appearance of this piece is incredibly strong. A wonderful representative of the final date in this scarce two-year issue." This type, called the "fillet head," was struck at the Sydney mint 1855-56. The type is rare today, especially in nice condition. The Sydney mint was opened in 1855 to strike the gold found in Australia and was not employed to strike ordinary circulation coinage until 1920.

Recorded mintage: 981,000.

Specification: 7.99 g, .917 fine gold, .2354 troy oz AGW.

Catalog reference: KM 2, Fr-9.


  • Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2012.
  • McDonald, Greg, The Pocket Guide to Australian Coins and Banknotes, 23rd ed., Lavington, Australia, 2017.
  • Friedberg, Arthur L. and Ira S. Friedberg, Gold Coins of the World, From Ancient Times to the Present, 7th ed., Clifton, NJ: Coin and Currency Institute, 2003.
  • [1]Bierrenbach, Cristiano, Warren Tucker and David Michaels, Heritage Signature Auction 3037, featuring the Empire, the Santa Catarina, the Law and the Santa Maria Collections, Dallas, TX: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2014.

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