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The sovereign varieties of 1873

It appears to be little known, but there are date varieties on both the shield and St George reverse sovereigns of 1873. A picture says a thousand words, so instead of describing the varieties, we have taken some macro (close-up) photos of the variety. These are presented below.


1873 Sovereign varietiesTwo versions of the numeral "3" on the 1873 Melbourne St George reverse sovereign.


The variety relates to the shape of the “3”. We have observed the variety on the 1873 Melbourne and London St George reverse sovereigns, as well as the 1873 London shield reverse sovereign. Conceivably, it may also appear on the 1873 Sydney Shield and St George reverse sovereigns at some point as well, although we have not discovered any yet at this stage.


1873 London sovereignAn 1873 London shield back sovereign with the small 3.

1873 London sovereign
An 1873 London shield back sovereign with the standard 3.


On the 1873 Melbourne, the “small 3” variety, as we’re calling it, appears to be the rarer type, appearing once or twice in ten coins, while the small 3 variety on the 1873 London shield sovereign seems to be equally as available as the standard 3 variety. We have not observed enough examples of the 1873 London St George sovereign, but will get a better feel for the variety’s rarity in time as we view more specimens.

Sovereign varieties are an increasingly popular area of collecting, with the many legend and date varieties of Victorian-era sovereigns a particular focus. If you collect varieties, both small and standard 3 sovereign varieties are essential to the complete variety set.


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