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1920 George V Sydney Mint - Educational Post


ilovesilverireallydo

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This has been taken from a private group - Run by a very reputable dealer called Martin Platt. I thought members here would love to read it: 

It is without doubt that the rarest and most valuable gold sovereign ever struck is the 1920 George V Sydney Mint example.

The production of gold coins in the years after World War I (1914-18) was impractical due to the high price of gold at the time. The minting cost of a gold sovereign in Australia was actually 50% more i.e. 30 shillings, when its face value was only 20 shillings. Australian mints ceased gold sovereign production between 1917 and 1925 accordingly. The only sovereigns that were produced in 1920 were done so because of a special order placed by a gentleman named Mr Jacob Garrard, a well known politician and trade unionist from New South Wales.

Mr Garrard placed an order for a very small number of sovereigns from the Sydney Mint itself to give as a gift to his and Rebecca's (his wife's) children in celebration of their 50th golden wedding anniversary on 15th April 1920. Five sons and two daughters were the subjects of the gifts, however the exact number of sovereigns actually produced still remains unknown. It is almost certain that less than 10 examples exist.

This gesture caused arguably the greatest gold coin rarity in the history of the British empire, a sovereign that was even rarer than the 1819 again of which only a handful are known.

A proof example of this extremely rare coin was sold at auction in 2012 for a staggering £780,000 including commission. It was won by a Robert Jaggard, an international gold dealer, who made the record breaking bid by phone from Sydney on behalf of a private Australian collector. This easily eclipsed the £155,000 plus commission realised at the Bentley Collection a year later for an 1819 sovereign.

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Jaggards is indeed famous with these sovereigns:

https://jaggards.com.au/Pages/education/explainanomics/one-of-australias-rarest-coins-the-1920-sydney-sovereign

"1920 sovereign coins have changed hands at auction three times in the past decade, fetching incredible prices due to their rarity.

  • Sydney Monetarium Auction A$844,000 (June 2009)
  • Baldwin’s London Auction A$1.2 million (September 2012)
  • St James’s London Auction A$979, 125 (March 2014).

Jaggard’s purchased each of these coins on behalf of our clients, helping them complete their full collection of Australian gold sovereigns." 

Andrew Crellin offers a bit more color on the 1920S sovereign story:

"Not only were Sir William Dixson and several of his colleagues able “…to purchase valuable additions to their collections” in the closing days of the Sydney Mint in 1926, but the famed Scottish collector, John Gloag Murdoch had a small but important number of gold proof sovereigns and half sovereigns struck at the Melbourne Mint in a range of dates and metals throughout the late 1890’s.

We can only surmise from the circumstances of Mr Garrard’s special order that he held some considerable sway in at least some circles in Sydney in 1920 - standard minting practice indicates no other explanation. I have no difficulty believing that the learned and hard-working men of the Sydney Mint would have held Garrard in high esteem and perhaps even with a bit of awe. Not only was Garrard a dedicated trade unionist, one that had championed the Labour Day public holiday for NSW, but he was also a parliamentarian that worked tirelessly for the cause of technical education. If he did happen to present himself at the Sydney Mint one day in 1920, and advise in either a humble or brash manner that he wished to have a small number of sovereigns coined as gifts for his family, I believe he is exactly the type of man the Sydney Mint staff would have gone the extra mile for, a man they’d perhaps even bend a few rules in favour of.

Regardless of how the story of the 1920 Sydney sovereign unfolds, it is clear that “the greatest gold rarity of the British Empire" has a social history without parallel."

https://www.sterlingcurrency.com.au/research/1920-sydney-sovereign-greatest-gold-rarity-british-empire

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. - H.L. Mencken

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2 minutes ago, sovereignsteve said:

@sg86 has at least 3 or 4 😉

I wish!

This was long considered a Myth until the Bentley collector managed to find one. I'm not sure there is more than a single coin known to exist, the 3 sales could easily be the same coin.

The Gold Sovereign

The Gold Sovereign aims to provide the most complete online resource to collectors of the world's most popular gold coin - the Sovereign.

www.thegoldsovereign.com    |    contact@thegoldsovereign.com

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Just now, sg86 said:

I wish!

This was long considered a Myth until the Bentley collector managed to find one. I'm not sure there is more than a single coin known to exist, the 3 sales could easily be the same coin.

Possibly, but I would have thought a chain of provenance would exist for such rare coins, certainly in recent times.

Profile picture with thanks to Carl Vernon

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In fact yes, there is a whole page dedicated to this coin in the Bentley collection catalogue, might be 3 examples. Two with normal dies and 1 with a proof die which was in the Quartermaster collection

The Gold Sovereign

The Gold Sovereign aims to provide the most complete online resource to collectors of the world's most popular gold coin - the Sovereign.

www.thegoldsovereign.com    |    contact@thegoldsovereign.com

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