In 1852 gold in Australia was traded in the form of gold nuggets and gold dust.
This was clearly inconvenient and a standard coin was needed to aid commerce.
A group of merchants approached the Lieutenant-Governor (Sir Henry Young) to start up an Australian Mint.
However there was a huge problem.
Permission was required from Queen Victoria and that would take at least 6 months by the fastest ship. – Adelaide needed a Gold coin NOW !
After taking advice from the acting manager of the South Australian Banking Company ,the Colonial Treasurer Robert Richard Torens decided not to make coins but instead to produce ingots,
This would remove any suggestion of denting Her Majestys pride and did not in fact affect the currency but allowed Banks to circulate the ingots to back their note issue.
These ingots were not intended for general circulation however.
A law was rapidly passed as The Bullion Act ,Number One.
The price of gold was fixed at £3 and 11 shillings an ounce.
All did not go well… the ingots when produced were made in different shpes.colour and sizes.
The ingots were quite different and confusing,
Ingots with a silver content were pale and ingots containing copper were tinged with orange.
They were formed in a flat strip of gold which had an official crown seal and punched figures to show the fineness of the gold and this was a standard of 23.1/8 carats.There was also a circular stamp surrounded by the legend – weight of ingot plus the weight of the ingot and a weight conversion to 22 carat gold.
Most ingots were 50mm x 25 mm.
However no two were identical in size or shape and this brought about much confusion
in November 1852 an amendment to the Bullion Act brought about the one pound coin.
Adelaide ingots are very rare indeed and hardly ever come up for sale.
First of all the die was cracked but 50 coins had already been minted.These are really rare coins,
A new die was quickly made and 25,000 of the type 2 Adelaide Pounds were minted
Athough this was a fairly high mintage very few have survived.
It turned out that the new coin was worth more for the gold value than its face value and most of the coins were melted down either
by people making a profit from them or by the Government.
The Adelaide Pound was ill-fated.