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BI01982

Sovereign 1887 Sydney, arc full stops, proof-like (DISH S1)

Victoria (1837-1901), gold Sovereign, 1887, Sydney, Australia Mint, a specimen strike struck with more care and attention, Golden Jubilee style bust facing left, small crown and veil on head, pearl earring and 13 pearl necklace, J.E.B. initials spread and raised on truncation with hooked J, stops in a curved arc, initials of engraver J Edgar Boehm, first abbreviated Latin legend and toothed border surrounding, VICTORIA D:G: BRITT: REG: F:D: rev. struck en medaille, St George and dragon right, horse with short tail, broken lance to left on ground-line, tiny WWP under lance, initials of William Wellesley Pole, Master of Mint when design introduced, S mint mark at centre of ground-line, date in exergue, initials B.P to upper right, for engraver Benedetto Pistrucci, edge milled (DISH S1 R5; Marsh 138A; S.3868A). Struck from the "enhanced" specimen dies with a high rim, with only the lightest of surface marks in the fields masking the proof-like background, a few other light hairlines or nicks otherwise good extremely fine and extremely rare, in our opinion the "enhanced" specimen pieces should be taken with a degree of rarity of R5.

This coin is of very special interest and merit. What is now known is that no proof Sydney dies were dispatched from the Royal Mint in London to Sydney branch mint until September 1887; therefore they would not have arrived until November. The Sydney mint, however, clearly wanted to have a small number of coins of special merit to present to dignitaries following the launch of the new coins. One of the pairs of the six currency dies Sydney had been sent was therefore clearly "enhanced" by some method to give a superior finish to the coins initially struck from them. The following extract from the annual report of the Sydney branch mint for 1887 states "The first delivery of sovereigns of the new design was made on the 22nd June. his excellency the Governor and Lady Carrington were kind enough to attend at the mint, to strike the proof pieces, and to start the machinery for the new coinage".

It is also clear that this same "enhanced" obverse die continued to be used long after the few "specimen" coins were produced and once the polished enhancement faded after a few concentrated multiple strike the die continued to be used, even after a noticeable tiny die crack was evident from the edge to the left of the J.E.B. initials seen developing on the subsequent currency style pieces.

Another example produced at an early striking by these enhanced dies was in the "Bentley Collection" sold by Baldwin's 2012-2013, lot 696. it realised £5,040 including premium.

The coin offered here seems to be a slightly better example.

Provenance:

Ex The Park House Collection, St James Auction 32, 10th May 2015, lot 201.

Sold as part of the David Iverson Collection on the 130th anniversary of the Jubilee head Sovereign - coin JH12

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