Exquisite Collection of NGC-certified Australian Gold Rarities Featured in Upcoming Sale

Posted on 9/9/2021

The St. James's Auctions' sale, which will includes nine of the rarest Australian coins, has been postponed until early 2022.

Nine extraordinarily rare Australian gold coins from The Regent Collection, all certified by Numismatic Guaranty Company™ (NGC®), are being offered in a sale presented by London-based St. James’s Auctions on October 7, 2021. Online bidding will begin soon for Auction 50 — The Regent Collection of Extremely Rare Australian Sovereigns and Half Sovereigns.

Some of the coins featured in the sale include:

A Pair of Treasures

Between the beginning of the gold rush in Australia in the early 1850s and the British legislative mandate to align all Australian gold issues with standard London issues in 1871, there was a brief period when coins were minted with a distinctive “Australian” flavor. These early issues were minted at the Royal Mint in London yet bore the words “SYDNEY MINT” and “AUSTRALIA” on their reverses as a way to differentiate them from the British sovereign. These early coins, intended only for use in New South Wales, also featured busts of Queen Victoria designed by cousins James and L.C. Wyon.

The auction features two of these early Sydney Mint patterns, which are proposed designs for a coin. The Gold Sovereign and Gold Half Sovereign are both pedigreed to the Captain Vivian Hewitt Collection. The Australia 1853 Gold Pattern Sovereign graded NGC PF 63 Ultra Cameo (lot 3) is the only example known in private hands, according to the auction house. The others are held by the British Museum (one piece) and the Royal Mint Museum, Wales (two pieces). This rarity has an estimate of £425,000 to £475,000 (about $585,000 to $654,000 USD).

Australia 1853 Gold Pattern Sovereign graded NGC PF 63 Ultra Cameo
Click images to enlarge.

The second early Sydney Mint pattern coin is an Australia 1853 Gold Pattern Half Sovereign graded NGC PF 62 Ultra Cameo (lot 4). It is also unique in private hands, with three other examples known to be housed in the British Museum and the Royal Mint Museum, Wales. The highest and only example graded by NGC, the coin has an estimate of £220,000 to £260,000 (about $303,000 to $358,000 USD).

Australia 1853 Gold Pattern Half Sovereign graded NGC PF 62 Ultra Cameo
Click images to enlarge.

One of the British Empire's Greatest Gold Rarities

With only four circulating examples known, the 1920S Sydney Mint Sovereign is known as the rarest of all issued sovereigns. This spectacular Australia 1920S Sovereign graded NGC MS 64+ (lot 9) has been pedigreed to a private family collection where it had been held for the last 100 years. It features a portrait of King George V on the obverse and St. George slaying the Dragon on the reverse. The highest example graded by NGC, this coin has an estimate of £325,000 to £375,000 (about $446,700 to $515,000 USD).

Australia 1920S Sovereign graded NGC MS 64+
Click images to enlarge.

Why is this particular date so rare? Experts suspect that as many as two-thirds of the reported 360,000 Sovereigns minted at Sydney in 1920 were actually dated 1919. Furthermore, the production of gold coins in the years immediately following the end of World War I was prohibitive because of the high price of gold at the time. The cost of minting a single gold sovereign in Australia was 30 shillings, when its face value was only 20 shillings.

Other Highlights of The Regent Collection

Other NGC-certified highlights in the sale include:

  • an Australia, Adelaide 1852 Pound with a Beaded Inner Circle graded NGC MS 62 and pedigreed to the Jaggard Collection (lot 1), with an estimate of £150,000 to £180,000 (about $206,160 to $247,392 USD)
  • an Australia 1855 Sovereign graded NGC PF 65 Ultra Cameo and pedigreed to the Strauss Collection (lot 5), with an estimate of £150,000 to £180,000 (about $206,160 to $247,392 USD)
  • an Australia 1855 Half Sovereign graded NGC PF 66★ Cameo and pedigreed to the Strauss Collection (lot 6), with an estimate of £150,000 to £180,000 (about $206,160 to $247,392 USD)
  • an Australia 1856 Sovereign with a Plain Edge graded NGC PF 65★ Ultra Cameo and pedigreed to the King Farouk Collection (lot 7), with an estimate of £150,000 to £180,000 (about $206,160 to $247,392 USD)
  • an Australia, Adelaide 1852 Pound with a Beaded Inner Circle graded NGC MS61 and pedigreed to the Strauss Collection (lot 2), with an estimate of £140,000 to £160,000 (about $192,500 to $220,000 USD)
  • an Australia 1856 Half Sovereign with a Plain Edge graded NGC PF 65+ Ultra Cameo and pedigreed to the King Farouk Collection (lot 8) with an estimate of £125,000 to £175,000 (about $171,800 to $240,520 USD)

All estimates are provided by the auction house.


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