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Australian Gold Coins

1852 Adelaide Gold Pound
According to the Museum Victoria:
This was not really a coin, but a coin-shaped ingot guaranteed to be worth a pound. The Colony of South Australia backed their valuation by giving exact details of the purity (22 carats) and weight (5 pennyweight and 15 grains) of the piece. It was made from gold brought to South Australia from the Victorian goldfields in 1852. Although production was technically illegal, these pieces were made by the South Australian government to solve a major problem in the local economy caused by people leaving for the gold fields and taking most of the colony's money with them. By the time the written request for authority to make the pieces had arrived in England and the refusal returned to Adelaide, the Assay Office had opened, solved the problem by issuing the tokens and closed.
It is difficult to exactly categorise the Adelaide Pound. It could be called a token, but it was issued in the name of the Government Assay Office. It bears a denomination of "One Pound", and has a gross weight and actual gold content slightly higher than a British gold sovereign.

Too Good to Last
"Gresham's Law" states that bad money drives out good. Sometimes good money drives itself out.
Because the value of the gold content exceeded its face value, and because the coins could be bought in Victoria for 19s1112d, and were worth £1.1s.1012d in London, most of the 24,768 recorded as having been minted were exported to London and melted down. Accordingly, only a few hundred pieces are believed to be still in existence.


Large crown with the date 1852 below, within a dentilated inner circle, with the inscription around the outer circle:-

In three lines, the words
within a dentilated inner circle, with the inscription around the outer circle:-
above and below the design.

Various Types
There were two types of Adelaide Pound, Type 1 and Type 2. The two types are very similar, differing only in the inner circles being beaded on the first type, and "dentilated" on the second type.
There was also a pattern Five Pounds, at least one of which was officially restruck at the Melbourne branch of the Royal Mint in 1921.
Originally, it was planned for Two Pound and Half Pound (Ten Shilling) denominations also to be issued. None are known, and it is believed that none were ever produced.

Modern Replicas
As with many rare coins, modern replicas have been produced. The coin in our photographs is a replica or the Type 2 variety.

The edge is milled (grooved).

Technical Specifications
These are exactly the same as for British sovereigns and halves.
DenominationDiameterWeightFinenessGold Content
One Pound228.7500.9170.2579
Five Pounds3243.7500.91701.2895

Prices & Availability
DateDenominationGradeMintageAvailabilityPrice £Price $
1852Adelaide PoundAny24,768Wanted£Ask$Ask

Obverse of 1852 Adelaide One Pound
Obverse of 1852 Adelaide One Pound


Countries Index

Reverse of 1852 Adelaide One Pound
Reverse of 1852 Adelaide One Pound


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