Australia 1896M Half Sovereign PCGS XF45
Half sovereign production is limited at the tail end of the Great Depression (renamed the Long Depression after the 1930’s). Ironically the “Silver Democrats” were exasperating global monetary problems at this time by fixing the value of silver to gold at 16:1 – too much silver was being mined in California if I remember correctly.
To the extent that these pegged, dual monetary standards were playing havoc with global commerce at the time is research for another day. What is clear is how half sovereign production is curtailed from 1880 until 1900. It’s indicative that Australia did not escape these economic difficulties.
Prior to 1896, the last production run of half sovereigns in Melbourne was 110,000 jubilee types in 1893. Renniks reports unknown production numbers for 1899, the year after 1896 in which coins were produced. So the whole decade is quite spotty in production. As such there are only 9 examples finer than this XF45 grade. I will endeavor to increase the number in circulation as new stock permits.
The details of this coin can be found here: