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1904 London Half Sovereign

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Marsh records two reverse dies as having been used to strike 1904 London half sovereigns (p64, Marsh, The Gold Half-Sovereign, 2004) - reverse A and reverse B. There are a number of differences between the two designs but the easiest difference to spot is the absence of the designer's initials B.P. on reverse A coins and the presence of the designer's initials B.P. on the reverse B coins.

As with many such changes, the reasons are unknown, but 1904 was a transitional year for the half sovereign. Although Marsh lists the reverse A coin as more common (p64, Marsh, The Gold Half-Sovereign, 2004), it would appear that the reverse B coin is much more common, though insufficient examples have been sighted to estimate a break-down. Reverse A was used on the Perth-struck half sovereigns that year and neither the Melbourne Mint nor the Sydney Mint struck 1904-dated half sovereigns. It is unclear how or when the dies were prepared but it appears that the Perth Mint used reverse A exclusively and the Royal Mint used reverse B to strike most of its coins: either existing old dies were sent to Perth, or the Perth Mint ordered its half sovereign dies before the introduction of the new design.