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Melbourne Mint sovereigns 1932-1934

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Although gold coins stopped circulating in Australia during World War I, the Melbourne Mint continued to strike gold sovereigns - by the late 1920s the mintages were low and by 1931 when the last sovereign was struck, the mintages were even lower. 1932 marked the end of sovereign production throughout the British empire, with only the Pretoria Mint striking sovereigns in that year. Like the Perth Mint though, the Melbourne Mint also received 1932-dated sovereign dies, though neither mint are known to have struck any 1932-dated sovereigns. In 1932 the Melbourne Mint received seven 1932 sovereign reverse dies (p48, Mullett, Gold Coinage and Refining at the Melbourne Mint, 1992), but the Melbourne Mint also received seven 1933 sovereign reverse dies in 1933 (p48, Mullett, Gold Coinage and Refining at the Melbourne Mint, 1992). While the receipt of 1932-dated sovereign dies is not surprising - they were prepared and sent to the other two mints that had produced sovereigns in 1931 - the receipt of 1933-dated sovereign dies is surprising, as Great Britain had abandoned the gold standard in 1931, and the Melbourne Mint had not struck any sovereigns after 1931.

The Melbourne Mint received 1934-dated sovereign dies in 1934 as well, though on this occasion only four dies were received (p48, Mullett, Gold Coinage and Refining at the Melbourne Mint, 1992). The reason for 1934-dated sovereign dies is known however: the Melbourne Mint had specifically requested them to strike sovereigns for the centenary of the state of Victoria in 1934 (Eigner, While the Royal Mint was reluctant to have sovereigns struck, it was conceded that laws still required sovereigns to be struck on demand (perhaps explaining the production of 1933-dated sovereign reverse dies). The Melbourne Mint confirmed receipt of the four dies on 26th April 1934 (Eigner, There are conflicting reports of when the dies were destroyed - according to Sharples, four sovereign reverse dies were destroyed in December 1934 (Eigner,, while Mullett states that all sovereign dies in stock at the Melbourne Mint were destroyed in April 1934 (p48, Mullett, Gold Coinage and Refining at the Melbourne Mint, 1992). This apparent conflict is difficult to reconcile as both men had access to the Melbourne Mint's records. Perhaps all sovereign dies in stock were destroyed earlier in April, prior to the arrival of the 1934-dated sovereign reverse dies towards the end of April. If all obverse dies had been destroyed prior to the arrival of the new reverse dies, this would explain why no 1934 Melbourne sovereigns appear to have been struck, even though the Melbourne Mint went to some effort to acquire appropriate dies. This would also explain the destruction of a further four sovereign reverse dies in December 1934 - the exact number and type received at the end of April 1934.

Mullett's records show no 1932 Melbourne sovereigns, 1933 Melbourne sovereigns or 1934 Melbourne sovereigns as having been struck (p48, Mullett, Gold Coinage and Refining at the Melbourne Mint, 1992) and while the records are not completely authoritative, the lack of any such coins seems to prove them right.