Antique, full sovereign with King Edward V11 head and George & the Dragon, date 1909 and M for Melbourne
A full gold sovereign dated 1909 in good condition. The reigning sovereign Kind Edward VII is on the reverse with tiny initials DeS at the base of his neck.
On the face of the sovereign is a tiny initial M (under the back hoof of the horse) this stands for Melbourne.
It was the discovery of gold on the island that led to Australia having such a large involvement in minting British gold Sovereigns. The discovery made it very cost effective in terms of shipping and insurance costs for the Mint to mine and refine the gold in the same area, which led to the first refinery in Sydney and subsequent ones on Melbourne and Perth.
Gold Sovereigns made by each of these refineries bear the corresponding letter above the year of their creation:
Sydney (1855 – 1926) = S
Melbourne (1872 – 1931) = M
Perth (1899 – 1931) = P
Before 1887 the Australian-produced gold Sovereigns had their own local designs but all since that date then carried the George and Dragon design by Pistrucci.
The weight of a gold Sovereign is 7.98 grams, with a pure gold content of 7.32240 grams. All Sovereigns have a fineness of 916.7, meaning out of 1000 parts, that is how many are pure gold. This has been the purity of Sovereigns since 1817, when the coin was reintroduced to Britain.