Australia 1882M Sixth Head Half Sovereign VF (Sheldon Graded)
With the help of Australia’s numismatic expert David Briggs, I’ve come to call this fourth head variety the “sixth head”. A fourth head punch was modified by grinding off the 146 rim denticles. 144 denticles were then tacked on, done in an effort to improve half sovereign die production. The fifth head had already been released in 1880. So a heavily modified fourth head should be correctly labelled a sixth head, as it follows the fifth head’s release two years later. It is above all a single die experiment supplied to the Royal Mint’s colonial subordinate.
Read the research here: https://topendcoins.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/1882M-Sixth-Head-1.pdf
A comparative illustration of the 4th head – released in 1877 – and the 1882M sixth head can be seen below. The rim is reinforced to stop the die cracking that was a fault of die metallurgy, not the coin itself. The fifth head is notably different in that Queen Victoria’s hair bun is nearly touching the letter G in GRATIA.