Of the three Australian mints existing at the time in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, the Sydney Mint was the first to mint the Australian Gold Sovereign coin in 1871. The Melbourne Mint struck the coin in 1871 and was second. The Perth Mint was the last to strike the coin in 1899. Respectively, each of these coins produced by the three mints had the mintmarks, “S”, “M” and “P” on the reverses of the coins. The Sydney and Melbourne Mints are now defunct and only the Perth Mint continues to strike coinage.
Since their debut striking, the three various Mints produced different versions of the Australian Gold Sovereign coin. For example, the 1899 to 1901 coin had the effigy of Queen Victoria wearing a veil and facing to the right on the obverse. Australian Gold Sovereign coins minted between 1902 and 1910 bore the image of King Edward VII facing right while minting completed between 1911 and 1928 had the first portrait of King George. Coinage minted between 1929 and 1931 had the modified portrait of King George V. In all instances, the reverse of the coins had the design of St. George riding on a horse and slaying a dragon, as depicted by Benedetto Pistrucci.
The Australian Gold Sovereign coins were made of 22-carat gold. They have a maximum diameter of 21.5 millimeters. Their gross mass is 7.991 grams and an actual gold weight of 0.2354 troy oz with a purity of 91.67 percent. The Australian Gold Sovereign coins are legal tender in Australia. Therefore, collection and investment trading in them is not subject to sales tax or VAT. Investors and collectors find the coins appealing mainly due to their rarity and the long historical depictions they contain about Australia.
The Perth Mint, which is located in East Perth within the Western Australia region is the official mint and distributor of the Australian Gold Sovereign coins. It was established on January 2 1899 although it had already received minting authorization back in 1895. In 1957, it struck the purest of gold known with a purity of 0.999999 weighing 400g.