Australia’s gold rush of the 1850s unearthed vast quantities of precious metal. To turn this enormous wealth into coinage, the first overseas branch of Britain’s Royal Mint was opened in Sydney, capital of New South Wales, in 1855. Enjoying a privilege historically reserved for the mother mint in London, it was empowered to turn gold into official coins called sovereigns.
In the early years of production, Sydney sovereigns were differentiated from London’s ‘Imperial’ versions by alternative obverse and reverse designs. Created by Leonard Charles Wyon, one of the famous dynasty of 19th century engravers, the Sydney Type I reverse featured elements representing radical departures from tradition.
For the first time the denomination ‘ONE SOVEREIGN’ was included on the reverse which also comprised depictions of St Edward’s Crown and a laurel wreath. The word ‘AUSTRALIA’ was prominently positioned, even though this was a geographical concept at the time rather than today’s fully-fledged nation. To underline the point that these coins were not struck in London, ‘SYDNEY MINT’ was also incorporated in the ‘colonial’ design.
Sovereigns bearing this reverse were produced until 1870, after which all Australian-made versions featured Imperial designs with the addition of a small mintmark.
This commemorative proof coin celebrates the 165th anniversary of Australia’s first sovereign, the historic 1855 Sydney Mint sovereign coin designed by Royal Mint Engraver Leonard Charles Wyon, which was the first coin to be produced at The Sydney Mint in 1855.
The coin is struck by The Perth Mint from 91.67% pure gold and issued as legal tender under the Australian Currency Act 1965.
The Perth Mint will release no more than 350 of the Australia Sovereign 2020 Gold Proof High Relief Piedfort Coin.
The Perth Mint’s Australia Sovereign Gold Proof High Relief Piedfort Coin pays tribute to Wyon’s historic reverse design. With the name of the mint suitably amended, the modern issue also includes a small numeric privy mark denoting that 2020 is the 165th anniversary of Australia’s first sovereign.The coin’s obverse depicts the Jody Clark effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the 2020 year-date and the monetary denomination.
The coin has been struck with an extra-deep blank to showcase its superbly detailed design in high relief. Additionally, with its extra-thick planchet, this coin is reminiscent of traditional ‘piedforts’ (pronounced pee-ay-fore), which take their name from the French words for ‘heavy weight’.
The coin is housed in a prestigious wooden presentation case with in a superbly illustrated shipper and is accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity.
|Gold Content (Troy oz)||0.471|
|Monetary Denomination (AUD)||50|
|Fineness (% purity)||91.67|
|Minimum Gross Weight (g)||15.982|
|Maximum Dimensions (mm)||22.60|
|Maximum Thickness (mm)||3.80|
|Designer||Ing Ing Jong|