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Discovery of gold in Australia spawned our first indigenous gold coin in 1852 with the Adelaide Pound. This short-lived unofficial issue was followed in 1855 by officially sanctioned gold sovereign & half sovereign coins. Struck initially at the Sydney Branch of the Royal Mint both issues had a unique ‘Sydney Mint’ reverse. This was followed with the ‘Shield Reverse’ and finally the familiar ‘St. George and the Dragon’ reverse.
These gold coins were initially minted at the Sydney Mint, then in 1872 by the Melbourne branch of the Royal Mint and finally in 1899 by the Perth branch of the Royal Mint. 1931 was the last year gold sovereigns were minted in Australia with issues from Perth and Melbourne. In the time the coins were minted Queen Victoria appears on them with three different portraits (young head, jubilee portrait, and veiled head), followed by her son Edward VII and then her grand-son George V.
Sovereigns and half sovereigns are one of the most commonly counterfeited coins in the world, whether they be common date or key date. Taking this into account it’s always best to buy these gold coins already certified by PCGS or NGC.