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Gold Sovereigns

1901 Melbourne Mint Gold Sovereign

22 Carat Gold

At the time when Sir Thomas Brock’s Veiled Head design was introduced, the nation was in the firm grip of economic depression. Much of the foreign capital that had been invested in the great Australian land boom was being repatriated, and this outward flow of capital was driving many respected banks to collapse. Although by 1893 the volume of banking failures was easing from a rush to a trickle, the economic hardship that the depression caused the average Australian during the last years of the Victorian era was compounded by the beginning of a drought that affected the entire nation. Needless to say, a sovereign during this period had a high value indeed, accounting for at least half a week’s wages for the average man. The economic hardship that the nation endured during this time is reflected to a degree by the reduced mintage of the 1893 Sydney & Melbourne Veiled Head sovereigns.

1901M Melbourne Mint Gold Sovereign Reverse

1901M Melbourne Mint Gold Sovereign Obverse

Sir Thomas Brock’s popular Veiled Head portrait captures many of the values so closely attributed to Queen Victoria and her Australian citizens of the dawn of the 20th century – dignity, steadfast loyalty and sacrifice are all qualities that come to mind when viewing an Australian sovereign struck between 1893 and 1901. Victoria’s reign was the longest in the history of the British royal family, we can be certain that the memory of her beauty and character would have been kept alive for many years by the coins struck bearing her portrait.
The Veiled Head sovereigns set spans two centuries, nine years, three mints and includes twenty-one coins. This convenient number of coins makes a complete set well within the reach of all collectors, even those working on a modest budget over an extended period of time.
As with each of the other Australian sovereign obverse types, Queen Victoria’s Veiled Head sovereigns offer themselves as an attractive window onto the monetary, economic and social events of their era. A collapse in the banking system; an economic depression; the discovery of gold in Western Australia; Federation; as well as major technological changes all came to bear during the period in which Veiled Head sovereigns were produced. Indeed, the discovery of gold in Western Australia lead to the establishment of the Perth Mint in 1899 – not coincidentally this is the most difficult Veiled Head sovereign to obtain, particularly in superior quality. Some of our nation’s most loved literature and art were created during the late Victorian period, many of these works have gone on to become regarded as national treasures – they have become fundamental to the way Australians view themselves. Many public buildings that remain prominent to this day were built at the turn of the century, often with the riches gained from the goldfields.

When collectors examine a sovereign with the Veiled Head obverse, there are a certain number of points which are examined closely for strike & wear.
  • The fringe between the base of the crown and the top of the veil;
  • The folds towards the back of Victoria’s head;
  • The leading edge of the veil above, behind and below the ear;
  • The Queen's shoulder;
  • The eyebrow running through her cheek to the top of her throat;
  • The pendant and pearls on her not inconsiderable bosum, these are the best indicator of a weak strike;
  • As always, the rims and fields;



Composition: 91.67% Gold
8.33% Copper
Gold Content: 0.2354 oz
Edge: Reeded
Weight: 7.9881 grams
Size: 21.5 mm
Reverse: Benedetto Pistrucci
Obverse: Sir Thomas Brock
Chard Gold Sovereigns Andrew Crellin of Sterling & Currency.

The Sovereign
Daniel Fearon & Brian Reeds
Hilden Publications
17 Windmill Drive
Croxley Green, Hertfordshire
United Kingdom

Token Publishing

The Gold Sovereign
Golden Jubilee Edition

Michael A Marsh
25A St Neots Rd
Cambrigeshire CB3 7QH
United Kingdom