Australia's First Legal Tender Gold Coin
During the gold rush of the mid 1800's thousands of men left South Australia in search of their fortune in the gold fields of Victoria taking with them currency in the form of gold sovereigns. As a result huge economic stress was apparent throughout South Australia with many mines closing.
On the 28th January 1852 desperate to boost its failing economy the Bullion Act of 1852 was passed. The act allowed the formation of the Adelaide Assay Office assigned to assessing the purity weight and characteristics of gold purchased from the Victorian gold fields. As an incentive for the miners to bring their gold to South Australia the assay office offered a higher price per ounce than those in Victoria.
To overcome issues of an unpopular ingot an amendment was made to the act allowing ten shilling one two and five pound gold piece to be struck by the Government Assay Office in Adelaide.
In a rush to produce the coins the first of the designs by engraver Joshua Payne failed with around 50-100 coins exhibiting a severe die crack on the reverse side at about 12 o'clock. This is now known as the Adelaide Pound Type I.
A new die was quickly produced to replace the cracked die with the only major change being a crenellated inner circle on the reverse instead of the beaded inner circle of type 1. This is known as the Adelaide Pound Type II.
24 648 Type II's were struck but it is believed only a small percentage actually circulated as it was quickly discovered that the coins had almost two shillings of intrinsic gold value above the the one pound and were soon withdrawn and or melted by profiteers or official decree.
Condition: ex. Mount edge smooth. Very Good.
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