numismatics.com.au | Numis Bid | Blue Sheet
Contact Us About Us
 
 
 Not logged in
Sign In | Register
 
Article Index Buying From Us Selling Coins Coin Valuations Mission Statement

Varieties of the Jubilee Head Half Sovereign

07-Aug-2010

Struck during a relatively short period from 1887 and 1893, the Jubilee Head series is arguably one of the more popular half sovereign series to collectors, partly due to its affordability, but also to its numerous varieties which have fascinated collectors for decades.

The Jubilee Head half sovereign was struck from the Sydney and Melbourne mints during the odd years only resulting in a total of 4 years to collect with the 1887 struck at both the Sydney and Melbourne mints increasing that count to 5.

For each year that the half sovereign was struck, a number of varieties occurred.



1887 Sydney

The Sydney mint struck a total of 134,000 half sovereigns in 1887, identifiable by an 'S' under the shield on the reverse. This mintage figure however, includes the Young Head design though this comprises of a minority of the figure. The type is reasonably common and is one of the easier dates in mint state with at least 30 known examples.

There are four varieties varying the formation of the designer's initials 'JEB' on the coin's obverse.

Wide JEB Narrow JEB Medium JEB JEB as IEB



1887 Melbourne

The Melbourne mint struck a total of 64,000 half sovereigns in 1887, identifiable by an 'M' under the shield on the reverse. This mintage figure includes the Young Head type though very few Young Head half sovereigns were struck by the Melbourne mint that year leaving a mintage figure for the Jubilee Head type at around 50,000. This type is reasonably common despite its low mintage figure and is one of the easier Victorian half sovereigns in top grades with numerous examples emerging from the Ballarat hoard.

There are three varieties varying the formation of the designer's initials 'JEB' on the coin's obverse.



1889 Sydney

In 1889, the Sydney mint struck a total of 32,000 half sovereigns making the type the scarcest Jubilee Head half sovereign and one of the scarcest half sovereigns overall with an estimated 500 examples surviving today.

There are two varieties to consider for this year.

13 pearls 12 pearls




1891 Sydney

The Sydney mint struck a total of 91,000 half sovereigns in 1891 with two distinct varieties.

Sans JEB With JEB



There are approximately 1000 examples of the year surviving today leaving approximately 100 examples of the 'With JEB' variety rendering it reasonably scarce, particularly in higher grades. I have only catalogued 1 example in about uncirculated condition and none higher.


1893 Melbourne

The Melbourne mint struck a total of 134,000 in 1893, assumingly the Jubilee Head type though 5 circulated Veiled Head half sovereigns are known for the year. The varieties for the year are identical to the 1889 Sydney mint half sovereign with a varying pearl count in Queen Victoria's necklace.

A sample of 40 1893 Melbourne mint half sovereigns revealed 6 examples of the 12 pearl variety and considering a total survival count of approximately 900 examples, we can assume a survival count of the 12 pearl variety to be approximately 135 pieces.

While the Jubilee Head may seem like an easy series to complete with only 5 dates needed, a close look at the varieties of each year reveal a total of 13 pieces to collect to produce a complete set, well that is, excluding the pattern strikings.


Copyright © Walter Eigner Pty Ltd
ACN: 164 704 876
About Us | Contact Us