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CI04001

Australia, Adelaide 1852 Pound type 2 MS62

Australia, Adelaide, gold Pound token, 1852, struck in 22 carat gold alloyed with copper, type II, crown over date, crenellated beaded circle surrounding both sides, legend surrounding, toothed border around rim both sides, GOVERNMENT ASSAY OFFICE around upper half, ADELAIDE below, rev. VALUE ONE POUND in three lines at centre, the upper and lower words curving around the central word, upper legend WEIGHT. 5 DWT: 15 GRS: lower legend 22 CARATS, weight 8.44g (Bentley 628 this coin; QM 23 R3; KM 2; Fr.3). Some light striations around rim with light surface marks, a little weak on high points otherwise extremely fine, has been graded and slabbed by NGC as MS62.

NGC certification 2718443-001.

With the discovery of gold at Ballarat near Bathurst in New South Wales during 1851 a veritable gold rush occurred, and Southern Australian towns were suddenly depleted in population as the migration occurred to the prospective gold fields. Successful finds of gold caused a sudden influx of gold into Adelaide, the nearest major town to the gold fields and the Lieutenant-Governer of South Australia Sir Henry Young, knew that a Mint could not be set up without Royal approval which would take at least six months with the distance and set up time involved. Sir Henry took advice from George Tinline the acting Manager of the South Australian Banking Company and Robert Torrens the Colonial Treasurer about the understanding of a clause in the Bill affecting currency which revealed a possible loop-hole to the need for Royal approval stating "unless urgent necessity exists". It was upon these words that Sir Henry Young decided to pass through the South Australian Legislative Council, Bullion Act Number 1 to produce gold ingots and later the gold token coins like we have offered here.

Within hours the Government Assay Office had been set up so refining of ingots could commence. Following criticism of the ingots produced an amendment was made to the Act in November of 1852 to authorise production of coins still without any Royal approval. The first die produced for the Pound coin failed after some 30 coins had been produced rendering the type I pieces of the greatest rarity. The type II piece like we offer here, were more successful to the great relief of the economy in Adelaide and minting finished in February 1853 when some 25,000 had been struck. However, only a minuscule percentage survives today as so many were melted down due to the value of the gold at that time exceeding the face value upon the coins, meaning the vast proportion were melted down. Royal disapproval of the "token" coinage arrived in November of 1853 when a large influx of newly minted British gold Sovereigns of 1853 also arrived to alleviate the economy and so the coinage was displaced to the scant survivors we have today.

Provenance:

Ex Bentley Collection, part II, Baldwin Auction 76, 27th September 2012, lot 628.

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