Australian Gold Sovereigns – History and Mintage

1904 Gold Sovereign Melbourne Reverse 640x320

Besides being minted in Britain, Gold Sovereigns were made in Australia between 1871 and 1931. The Australian coins carry a small mintmark (‘S’,’M’,’P) just above the date to represent Sydney Mint, Melbourne Mint and Perth Mint respectively.

Early Australian Gold Coins

In 1851 the British prospector Edward Hargraves (1816-1891) found gold in Orange, New South Wales and started the Australian Gold Rush. It was a major event for Australia, moving the convict colonies into progressive cities and new wealth.

At that time Britain had considerable influence as Australia was a number of British colonies and then part of the British Empire. However, that didn’t stop Adelaide setting up an assay office and producing a gold coin known as the Adelaide Pound. The Adelaide Pound contained 8.75 g of gold which was slightly more than the British gold sovereign, and the alloy contained silver which gave the coin a lighter colour. The non-British design and strange colour meant that these coins were non initially accepted as legal tender outside of Australia.

1852 Adelaide Pound
1852 Adelaide Pound. Image credit: National Numismatic Collection, National Museum of American History

Between 1855 and 1870, Australia produced it’s own style sovereign with “Sydney Mint, Australia, One Sovereign” on one side and Queen Victoria on the obverse.

Australian Gold Sovereigns 1871-1931

Rather than transport the gold to London, it made sense to open branch/subsidiary mints in Australia. The Sidney Mint was established in 1853, Melbourne Mint in 1872 and Perth Mint in 1899.

From 1870 it it was decided to use the same designs as the London Mint, with the addition of a mint mark (“S”, “M” or “P”). Melbourne and Sydney continued to mint Shield Back sovereigns even when it had been discontinued in London. Production became so large that by 1900 Australia supplied about 40% of all the sovereigns used in Britain.

Specification of Australian Gold Sovereigns

The specification of the Australian sovereigns is identical to the London sovereign made at the Royal Mint:

  • Weight: 7.9881g
  • Diameter: 22.05 mm
  • Thickness: 1.52 mm
  • Purity: 22 carat = 91.67% (11/12ths gold, 1/12th copper. Adding copper makes the coin more scratch and dent resistant)
  • Gold Content: 113 grains = 7.3224 g = 0.2354 troy ounce
  • Face value: £1 = 20 shillings

Australian Gold Sovereign production ended in 1931 when the Great Depression caused the the gold standard monetary system to be ended. However, commemorative Sovereigns are still occasionally made.

Australian Gold Sovereigns By Year (Table)

Year Monarch Title Mintage
1871 Victoria 1871 Gold Sovereign Sydney 2814000
1872 Victoria 1872 Gold Sovereign Sydney 1815000
1872 Victoria 1872 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 748180
1873 Victoria 1873 Gold Sovereign Sydney 1478000
1873 Victoria 1873 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 752199
1874 Victoria 1874 Gold Sovereign Sydney 1899000
1874 Victoria 1874 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 1373298
1875 Victoria 1875 Gold Sovereign Sydney 2122000
1875 Victoria 1875 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 1888405
1876 Victoria 1876 Gold Sovereign Sydney 1613000
1876 Victoria 1876 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 2124445
1877 Victoria 1877 Gold Sovereign Sydney 1590000
1877 Victoria 1877 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 1487316
1878 Victoria 1878 Gold Sovereign Sydney 1259000
1878 Victoria 1878 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 2171457
1879 Victoria 1879 Gold Sovereign Sydney 1459000
1879 Victoria 1879 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 2740594
1880 Victoria 1880 Gold Sovereign Sydney 1459000
1880 Victoria 1880 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 3053454
1881 Victoria 1881 Gold Sovereign Sydney 1360000
1881 Victoria 1881 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 2234800
1882 Victoria 1882 Gold Sovereign Sydney 1298000
1882 Victoria 1882 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 2465781
1883 Victoria 1883 Gold Sovereign Sydney 1108000
1883 Victoria 1883 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 2050450
1884 Victoria 1884 Gold Sovereign Sydney 1595000
1884 Victoria 1884 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 2942630
1885 Victoria 1885 Gold Sovereign Sydney 1486000
1885 Victoria 1885 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 2967143
1886 Victoria 1886 Gold Sovereign Sydney 1667000
1886 Victoria 1886 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 2902131
1887 Victoria 1887 Gold Sovereign Sydney 1000000
1887 Victoria 1887 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 1916424
1888 Victoria 1888 Gold Sovereign Sydney 2187000
1888 Victoria 1888 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 2830612
1889 Victoria 1889 Gold Sovereign Sydney 3262000
1889 Victoria 1889 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 2732590
1890 Victoria 1890 Gold Sovereign Sydney 2808000
1890 Victoria 1890 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 2473537
1891 Victoria 1891 Gold Sovereign Sydney 2596000
1891 Victoria 1891 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 2749592
1892 Victoria 1892 Gold Sovereign Sydney 2837000
1892 Victoria 1892 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 3488750
1893 Victoria 1893 Gold Sovereign Sydney 1346000
1893 Victoria 1893 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 1649352
1894 Victoria 1894 Gold Sovereign Sydney 3067000
1894 Victoria 1894 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 4166874
1895 Victoria 1895 Gold Sovereign Sydney 2758000
1895 Victoria 1895 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 4165869
1896 Victoria 1896 Gold Sovereign Sydney 2544000
1896 Victoria 1896 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 4456932
1897 Victoria 1897 Gold Sovereign Sydney 2532000
1897 Victoria 1897 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 5130565
1898 Victoria 1898 Gold Sovereign Sydney 2548000
1898 Victoria 1898 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 5509138
1899 Victoria 1899 Gold Sovereign Sydney 3259000
1899 Victoria 1899 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 5579157
1899 Victoria 1899 Gold Sovereign Perth 694937
1900 Victoria 1900 Gold Sovereign Sydney 3586000
1900 Victoria 1900 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 4305904
1900 Victoria 1900 Gold Sovereign Perth 1927484
1901 Victoria 1901 Gold Sovereign Sydney 3012000
1901 Victoria 1901 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 3987701
1901 Victoria 1901 Gold Sovereign Perth 2969947
1902 Edward VII 1902 Gold Sovereign Sydney 2813000
1902 Edward VII 1902 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 4267157
1902 Edward VII 1902 Gold Sovereign Perth 4254861
1903 Edward VII 1903 Gold Sovereign Sydney 2806000
1903 Edward VII 1903 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 3521780
1903 Edward VII 1903 Gold Sovereign Perth 4678569
1904 Edward VII 1904 Gold Sovereign Sydney 2986000
1904 Edward VII 1904 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 3743897
1904 Edward VII 1904 Gold Sovereign Perth 4596205
1905 Edward VII 1905 Gold Sovereign Sydney 2778000
1905 Edward VII 1905 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 3633838
1905 Edward VII 1905 Gold Sovereign Perth 4854698
1906 Edward VII 1906 Gold Sovereign Sydney 2792000
1906 Edward VII 1906 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 3657853
1906 Edward VII 1906 Gold Sovereign Perth 4803230
1907 Edward VII 1907 Gold Sovereign Sydney 2539000
1907 Edward VII 1907 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 3332691
1907 Edward VII 1907 Gold Sovereign Perth 5028807
1908 Edward VII 1908 Gold Sovereign Sydney 2017000
1908 Edward VII 1908 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 3080148
1908 Edward VII 1908 Gold Sovereign Perth 4926537
1909 Edward VII 1909 Gold Sovereign Sydney 2057000
1909 Edward VII 1909 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 3029538
1909 Edward VII 1909 Gold Sovereign Perth 4526270
1910 Edward VII 1910 Gold Sovereign Sydney 2135000
1910 Edward VII 1910 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 3054547
1910 Edward VII 1910 Gold Sovereign Perth 5646049
1911 George V 1911 Gold Sovereign Sydney 2519000
1911 George V 1911 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 2851451
1911 George V 1911 Gold Sovereign Perth 3413474
1912 George V 1912 Gold Sovereign Sydney 2227000
1912 George V 1912 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 2469257
1912 George V 1912 Gold Sovereign Perth 4390672
1913 George V 1913 Gold Sovereign Sydney 2249000
1913 George V 1913 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 2323180
1913 George V 1913 Gold Sovereign Perth 4689749
1914 George V 1914 Gold Sovereign Sydney 1774000
1914 George V 1914 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 2012029
1914 George V 1914 Gold Sovereign Perth 4771657
1915 George V 1915 Gold Sovereign Sydney 1346000
1915 George V 1915 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 1637839
1915 George V 1915 Gold Sovereign Perth 4334135
1916 George V 1916 Gold Sovereign Sydney 1242000
1916 George V 1916 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 1272634
1916 George V 1916 Gold Sovereign Perth 4107705
1917 George V 1917 Gold Sovereign Sydney 1667000
1917 George V 1917 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 934469
1917 George V 1917 Gold Sovereign Perth 4116840
1918 George V 1918 Gold Sovereign Sydney 3716000
1918 George V 1918 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 4969493
1918 George V 1918 Gold Sovereign Perth 4969493
1919 George V 1919 Gold Sovereign Sydney 1835000
1919 George V 1919 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 514257
1919 George V 1919 Gold Sovereign Perth 2852156
1920 George V 1920 Gold Sovereign Sydney 360000
1920 George V 1920 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 530266
1920 George V 1920 Gold Sovereign Perth 2533542
1921 George V 1921 Gold Sovereign Sydney 839000
1921 George V 1921 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 240121
1921 George V 1921 Gold Sovereign Perth 2320530
1922 George V 1922 Gold Sovereign Sydney 578000
1922 George V 1922 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 608306
1922 George V 1922 Gold Sovereign Perth 2256187
1923 George V 1923 Gold Sovereign Sydney 416000
1923 George V 1923 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 511129
1923 George V 1923 Gold Sovereign Perth 2129026
1924 George V 1924 Gold Sovereign Sydney 394000
1924 George V 1924 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 278140
1924 George V 1924 Gold Sovereign Perth 1428984
1925 George V 1925 Gold Sovereign Sydney 5632000
1925 George V 1925 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 3311662
1925 George V 1925 Gold Sovereign Perth 1868007
1926 George V 1926 Gold Sovereign Sydney 1031050
1926 George V 1926 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 211107
1926 George V 1926 Gold Sovereign Perth 1297625
1927 George V 1927 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 310156
1927 George V 1927 Gold Sovereign Perth 1305420
1928 George V 1928 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 413208
1928 George V 1928 Gold Sovereign Perth 1399102
1929 George V 1929 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 436938
1929 George V 1929 Gold Sovereign Perth 1588350
1930 George V 1930 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 77588
1930 George V 1930 Gold Sovereign Perth 1773914
1931 George V 1931 Gold Sovereign Melbourne 57809
1931 George V 1931 Gold Sovereign Perth 1173567

If you are interested in buying or selling Australian Gold Sovereigns then visit M J Hughes Coins.


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