Great Britain 1858 1/2 sovereign

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Heritage sale 3035, lot 30891
Great Britain H3035-30891r.jpg

This specimen was lot 30891 in Heritage sale 3035 (Long Beach, September 2014), where it sold for $4,112.50. The catalog description[1] noted, "Victoria gold 1/2 Sovereign 1858 MS66 NGC. A sensational and superb Gem Uncirculated example, glowing with satiny luster, sharply struck (only two tiny lion or leopard heads in the shield are not fully detailed), including super-deep denticles on both sides, producing dramatic eye-appeal. Curiously the shield is surrounded by some pitting in the gold (probably a rolling flaw, done at the mint when the blank flan was produced). Several numismatists have admired this coin during the cataloguing process and commented that they felt it was undergraded, so splendid is it. A marvel of survivorship from a time when most gold was furiously exchanged in commerce, with little thought to saving it for posterity. This may be the finest known Young Head half sovereign. Its owner could never decide whether he liked it more than his 1860, to follow here, or whether the 1860, with a different kind of luster, was his favorite. Each is spectacular. Technically, this 1858 is nonpareil. Ex. Guilford Courthouse Collection. From The Law Collection." This type was struck in substantial quantities 1838-85 yet choice specimens are few. This is a better date.

Recorded mintage: 856,000.

Specification: 3.99 g, .917 fine gold, .117 troy oz AGW.

Catalog reference: KM735.1, S-3859.


  • 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.
  • Bressett, Kenneth E., A Guide Book of English Coins, Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, 2nd Ed., Racine, WI: Whitman Publishing, 1962.
  • Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2012.
  • Lobel, Richard, Mark Davidson, Allan Hailstone and Eleni Calligas, Coincraft's Standard Catalogue of English and UK Coins, 1066 to Date, London: Coincraft, 1995.
  • Skingley, Philip, ed., Standard Catalogue of British Coins: Coins of England & the United Kingdom, 46th edition, London: Spink & Son, 2011.
  • [1]Bierrenbach, Cristiano, and Warren Tucker, Heritage Signature Auction 3035, World and Ancient Coins, featuring the FoxLair Collection and the Law Collection, Dallas: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2014.

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