Item Information

Dimensions (mm) 1 x 1 x 1mm
Weight (carats) 1 carats
Year 1894
Gold Coin

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SIZE 22 X22 X 1MM



Melbourne Mint


Melbourne Mint

Following the discovery of gold in Australia the NSW Legislative Council on 19 December 1851 addressed a petition to Her Majesty Queen Victoria seeking the establishment of a branch of the Royal Mint (London) in Sydney. The intention was to turn the newly won gold into sovereigns and half sovereigns, and to establish a point of sale where the miners would receive the official price of gold as opposed to the often paltry prices paid by the buyers on the fields. With the discovery of even larger gold fields, Victoria’s Legislative Council petitioned the Queen in July 1852 for a branch of the Royal Mint to be set up in Melbourne. The NSW petition, lodged 19 December 1851, was successful and the Sydney branch of the Royal Mint commenced operations on the 14 May 1855. Melbourne’s bid failed and it was not until 1865 that a further petition brought a favorable response. This delay is surprising in view of the fact that by 1860 there were over 80,000 alluvial miners on the fields and, by 1861 Victoria had over half of the Australia’s total population of 1,145,000. A proclamation and Order – in – Council issued on 7 August 1869 constituted the Melbourne branch of the Royal Mint declaring that: ‘gold coins made at the Melbourne branch Mint will be legal tender in all parts of Her Majesty’s dominions in which gold coins issued from Her Majesty’s London Mint are legal tender’. In 1853 a Captain of the Royal Engineers Edward Wolstenholme Ward, had been sent from Britain to establish the Sydney branch. In 1867, now a Colonel, E W Ward was appointed by the Royal Warrant as a Deputy Master of the Royal Mint London, and as the Deputy Master of the Melbourne branch. Patrick Forstall Comber, clerk of works in the War Office, was seconded to assist in the planning. Two assayers were appointed: a chemist and geologist from the goldfields, George Ford and Bank of England assayer, Robert Barton. Two further appointments were made from the Sydney branch staff, one was Robert Hunt and the second Francis Bowyer Miller. Colonel Ward in England oversaw the purchase of the engines, rolling mills and coining presses from Joseph Taylor of the Derwent Foundry, Birmingham, bullion and assaying balances from L Oertling, and automation balances from D Napier & Son. Colonel Ward sailed for Melbourne arriving there on the 14 October 1869. His assistant Mr PF Comber had arrived in April of the same year with the plans for the new building. The Lords Commissioners of the British Treasury wrote on 10 July 1869 to the Colonial Office advising that a detachment consisting of twelve non- commissioned officers and men, skilled artificers of the Corps of Royal Engineers, has been selected and instructed in the practical operations of melting and coining with a view to its employment at the same work at the proposed Mint. They arrived n Melbourne in January 1872. The new Mint fronted on William Street between Little Londsdale and Latrobe Streets. There were four buildings, one on each boundary, giving a central courtyard.

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Auction ID 14714
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Starts 26th May 2014 7:53pm PDT

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