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1929 Melbourne Proof Sovereign - PCGS SP65

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1929 Melbourne Proof Sovereign - PCGS SP65

A historically important proof sovereign, incredibly rare and superb quality.

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1929 Melbourne Proof Sovereign - PCGS SP65

Reverse: St George slaying dragon above date and mintmark.

Obverse: Bare bust of King George V to left, legend around. Square beading around rim.


Quality: PCGS SP65


Lot #1532, Noble Numismatics Auction 94 (July 2010). Passed in at an estimate of: $40,000.

Lot #646, Noble Numismatics Auction 2a (November 1978). Estimate: $1,750; Hammer: $1,500; Nett: $1,500.

A historically important proof sovereign, incredibly rare and in superb quality.

The introduction of the "Small Head" of King George V was an important change to the circulating coinage of the British Commonwealth, and was a process that lasted 16 years. The gold coins of the British Commonwealth were the last to be updated, that took place in 1929.

The striking of the 1929 Melbourne proof sovereign would have been a major occasion for the staff at the Melbourne Mint - a gold coin had not been struck by the Melbourne Mint to an archival standard since 1911, some 18 years earlier.

The Small Head or Modified Effigy of King George V was also the first design change to any Australian coin since the 1927 Parliament House florin was struck two years earlier.

Melbourne Mint staff had developed some modest experience in striking silver coins to proof quality, the 1929-M sovereign was their chance to strike gold to the same stunning standard.

No official Melbourne Mint records yet have been identified that specifically refer to the 1929-M proof sovereign. One comment by the Deputy Master in his Annual Report for 1929 states that “This year saw the introduction of a new obverse design for the sovereign ‘which produces a drastic artistic effect’. The opportunity was taken to make the beading on the obverse of the same pattern as the square beading of the Pistrucci design on the reverse.”

In an introduction to a retrospective of MacKennal’s work in 2007, a curator at the Art Gallery of New South Wales stated that “MacKennal’s status as an Australian cultural hero is undeniable.”

Incredible rarity, history and “drastic artistic effect” by an Australian cultural hero - the appeal that the 1929 Melbourne sovereign has is undeniable.

Rarity - One of 2, Perhaps 3 in Private Hands

All of the research we have done on Australian proof gold coins shows that this is one of 2, or at most 3 examples known in private hands.

Auction Activity

The last time a comparable example appeared for sale via auction was way back in July 2010, the last time a Small Head proof sovereign of a different date was offered for sale via auction was in November 2014.

This coin has been struck as sharply as any Australian King George V sovereign I have ever seen - MacKennal's portrait is rendered to an unmatched standard. It has a stunning rose and satin patina that is unique to this date.

Proof sovereigns are a rarified area of Australian numismatics - very few collectors are active in it, however those that are have the privilege of owning some of our nation's most beautiful and exclusive coins.

Click here to read our full article on the history of this stunning coin.

Click the PCGS icon below to verify the certificate details for this coin directly on the PCGS website.

PCGS Certificate Verification 84035844