Blue Sheet > Australia > Gold > Adelaide Assay Office > One Pound > Type I

Adelaide Assay Office

One Pound Type I (1852)
The discovery of gold in the colonies of New South Wales and Victoria caused heavy migration from the other colonies and the rest of the world, with individuals pursuing the chance of achieving great wealth through the discovery of gold. This migration had caused voids in their home economies with reductions in workers, jobs and of course they had withdrew their savings in gold coin, causing a number of problems for banks (as they could no longer keep their banknotes in circulation as they required gold reserves). South Australia was hit particularly hard by this with an estimated 16,000 people, half the male population of South Australia having left for the gold fields, and by 1852 it had seemed that total economic collapse was unavoidable.

While gold could be transported to the Royal
mint in London and exchanged with gold coin, the urgency of the problem called for an urgent solution and it would be another 3 years before a branch of the Royal Mint would be opened in Australia. The South Australian government therefore authrorised the Adelaide Assay Office to produce, from Victorian gold, initially ingots, and thereafter tokens, both of which were authorised to be held as reserves by banks thereby saving the local banks from withdrawing their banknotes (Museum Victoria, 2010).

This move would not be considered legal until they had approval from the British government but the urgency of the situation saw them start the operation while approval was requested. The British government declined the request but by the time this message was received, the Adelaide Assay Office had already struck almost 25,000 tokens, each with the face value of 1 pound, after which the assay office was shut down, having saved the local economy.

dies used to strike sovereigns and half sovereigns were made in London and then later in Melbourne, due to the urgency of the situation, the
dies for the Adelaide assay tokens were prepared locally by Joshua Payne.
Dies were prepared for the One Pound token and the Five Pound token though no original Five Pound specimens are known.

The first One Pound design, dubbed the Adelaide Pound Type I, features a beaded inner circle on the
reverse and a crenulated inner circle on the
obverse. This hand produced
die was imperfect and subsequently cracked presumably after striking the first circulation strike as no circulation strikes without the
die crack are known. The
die crack occurs through 'D' of 'DWT' from the rim to the inner circle.
Business Strikes
Joshua Payne
15 grams
0.2583 oz
23 mm
Gold: 91.67%
Silver: 8.33%
Bullion Value
Adelaide Assay Office - Type I One Pound Reverse

Adelaide Assay Office - Type I One Pound Reverse

Business Strikes

  Mintage     VG8 F12 VF20 XF40 AU50 AU55 AU58 MS60 MS61 MS62
1852 Est. 50     $31K $41K $50K $77.5K $100K $140K $170K $205K Values for higher grade coins are only available with a subscription

A coin's value varies significantly depending on its condition. Higher grade coins may be worth many times the value of lower grade examples. To gain access to the values of higher grade coins, please subscribe.

1852 Restrike (1971) 12     RARE
1852 Trial in Lead Unique     RARE
1852 Uniface Trial in Tin Unique     RARE


  • mint - a facility that produces coins
  • die - A cylindrical punch with an inverted impression of a coin's design used to strike the coin
  • reverse - The tails side of the coin
  • obverse - The heads side of the coin
  • die crack - A crack on the die which produces a raised line on the die it produces, or on the coins it strikes

Numismatic Glossary - View the full glossary of numismatic terms.


References - View full bibliography