Australia 1856S Half Sovereign Type 2 Reverse PCGS G04
As a novice collector not so long ago, I ignorantly purchased this coin without understanding what I was paying for. When I started seeing other 1856 Sydney half sovereigns for sale at half the price I started researching.
This particular reverse shares the same design as the 1853 pattern half sovereign designed as a test of the future currency intended for the NSW colony beginning in 1855. Yet it displays small differences. For this reason Andrew Crellin of Sterling & Currency asserts this Type 2 reverse as a separate and distinct type coin. It is not the same as the 1855 half sovereign nor the 1856 Type 3 standard circulation half sovereign. I’m not sure how many of these type 2 half sovereigns exist, but it’s believed to be no more than a dozen.
More information on the possible reasons for said difference can be found here – https://tinyurl.com/1856-Type-2
Note that PCGS does not distinguish between the normal reverse die and this one. Thus it looks like there are 50 examples finer than this on the coin’s certificate details.
Ex-RBA sale in 2005. You can verify the certificate of this coin by clicking on the following link (opens in new tab):