1920 George V sovereign achieves 9.3% increase on estimate

A rare George V sovereign, minted in Sydney in 1920, has sold for £437,500 ($731,850) at St James Auction in London.

It achieved an increase of 9.3% on an estimate of £400,000 ($669,120) on March 25.

George V sovereign Australia
The 1920 sovereign is the rarest gold coin of the British empire

One of only five surviving examples (one of which is held in the collection of the Royal Australian Mint), the coin is considered the rarest gold issue in the history of the British empire.

The cause of this exceptional rarity lies in the issue's origin. They were specially ordered in 1920 by Jacob Garrard, a politician from New South Wales, to celebrate his golden wedding anniversary.

The dies were shipped from England and the reverse appears to have rusted on the journey, resulting in a distinctive "pickled" texture on the back of each sovereign.

They were presented to Garrard's children, five sons and two daughters. It is estimated just seven to nine were ever minted.

The record for the issue was set at £780,000 ($1.3m) when a near flawless example sold at Baldwin's in London in 2012 - a world record for an Australian coin.

Another Australian issue, a pound coin minted in Adelaide in 1852, made £65,000 ($108,732).

Adelaide gold pound
The coin was minted in Adelaide in 1852

The coin was among the first minted in the region following the discovery of the nearby gold fields, and was struck in a limited run of 50 due to a crack in the dies.

You can view our range of rare coins here.

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