See also : Coin Gold coins World coins Coins 1800-49 20th century coins Canada British Royals
Chronology : 1920 2007
293-296 The Coinage of the Usurpers
2019 SOLD for £ 550K including premium
After the Severan dynasty, the imperial territory becomes increasingly unmanageable. Postumus reigns in a very extended Gaul. His coins in gold, silver and bronze are of better quality than the Roman coins but he is assassinated by his own soldiers in 268 CE. On his coins, his portrait is very finely engraved.
In 286 CE Carausius directs a Roman fleet in the Channel. Accused by the central power of conspiracy with the pirates whom he should have fought, he secedes. Carausius takes a great care to the quality of his coinage and to the propaganda formulas that proclaim his loyalty to the traditional values of the empire.
There was no chronicler in that dark period, and we know almost nothing of his successor Allectus. He would have been the treasurer of Carausius, whom he would have murdered in 293 after military defeats. He was killed during the re-conquest of Britannia by the Romans in 296. The currency of Allectus continues that of Carausius. His main mint is at Londinium.
Found in March 2019 in Kent by a metal detector near an ancient Roman road, an aureus of Allectus is estimated £ 70K for sale by Dix Noonan Webb in London on June 6, lot 1403. It is marked ML meaning that it was done in London.
Prohibited after his fall, the coins of Allectus have very little circulated. This aureus is in very good condition, with a stunning strike. The portrait shows a man with abundant hair and beard, matching the same fashion as Postumus. The reverse shows an allegory of the sun god surrounded by two slaves, with the formula Oriens Aug which means that the sun rose for this emperor.
1663 Petition against Coin Clipping
2018 SOLD for $ 550K before fees
To replace hammering, the use of the mechanical press is tempting. For a long time its profitability is doubtful and the workers fearing for their employment oppose it with violence.
At the fall of King Charles I, an engineer from the Paris Mint named Pierre Blondeau is invited to install his machines at the Tower of London. Assisted by the English medalist Thomas Simon, he realizes a superb silver coin with the figure of Oliver Cromwell.
When the Stuart dynasty was restored in 1660, the problem of currency control remained crucial. In 1661 King Charles II decreed that the use of the screw press is mandatory for all his gold and silver coins. Blondeau returns to England. To compare between his competing Mint engravers Simon and the Roettier brothers, the king asks for silver pattern coins. In 1662 he chose Roettier.
Simon does not accept his defeat against a foreign engraver. The king's political preference for Roettier was obvious, but it must also be admitted that Simon's splendid relief was difficult to industrialize.
Meanwhile Blondeau develops a decisive invention that will finally end the clipping : the machine that hits the coin onto its circumference. In a vain hope that the king changes his decision, Simon realizes in 1663 two sets of the silver crown worth 5 shillings, with a text of supplication readably printed within the small width to demonstrate his know-how. These variants are identified by numismatists from the first word on the edge : Petition and Reddite. The Reddite's edge also includes the tiny figure of a sun rising from behind a cloud.
These pattern coins are extremely rare. One of them considered as the finest surviving Reddite was sold for £ 396K including premium by Spink on March 27, 2014. On January 10 in New York, Goldberg sells two Simon coins. Lot 1103 is a Petition graded SP 53 by PCGS, estimated $ 550K. It is illustrated in the post shared by DailyMail. Lot 1104 is a Reddite graded SP 35 by PCGS, estimated $ 95K.
Petition SP 53 SOLD for $ 550K before fees
Reddite SP 35 Unsold
1663 Patterns for the Crown
2014 SOLD 396 K£ including premium
Named "milled coins", the machined pieces had however the advantage of providing a better regularity. An appropriate mechanism for pressing the metal on its outline also enabled to engrave the rim.
In power since the Restoration of 1660, Charles II wants to modernize the coinage and asks his medalists to realize prototypes of milled coins. John Roettier is the only one to respond and the king accepts his project.
In 1663, his competitor Thomas Simon is deeply upset to have been overcome. On the format of the crown worth five shillings, Simon strikes a small series of silver coins and also some specimens in pewter, bearing his name.
Simon's Crowns have a single basic pattern : on one side the portrait of the King in high relief, and on the reverse the Garter surrounded by four shields. They are splitted into two variants by the inscription of the edge, whose sharpness is a real technological feat for that time.
The Petition crown includes an English text of 200 letters in two lines. A great unit was sold for £ 207K including premium by Spink on September 27, 2007.
The other variant is named Reddite crown after the first word of its Latin text. The inscription on one line is shorter but the designer has added a drawing showing the rise of the sun over the storm, supposed to please the king as a symbol of the come back of the Stuarts.
The best known example of Reddite silver crown is estimated £ 100K, for sale by Spink in London on March 27. Here is the link to the press release.
Simon's work was exhibited to the king but did not change the decision. The rivalry between the two engravers was stopped by the untimely death of Simon in 1665, a year of plague in London.
POST SALE COMMENT
This remarkable coin deserved a great price : £ 396K including premium.
1703 Vigo Five guineas
2019 SOLD for $ 1.08M including premium by Baldwin's of Saint James's
narrated in 2020
Gold is rare in England. In 1703 the metal seized in Vigo is used to mint coins with the effigy of Queen Anne. The largest denomination is the five guineas, a superb achievement weighing more than 40 grams. Its total population is estimated at 20 units in two basic variants differentiated by the position of the word VIGO centered under the bust or offset under the shoulder. The VIGO beneath shoulder is the rarer.
On February 9, 2016, St. James's sold for £ 275K before fees an example in very good condition of the VIGO beneath shoulder, graded AU55 by PCGS.
Another VIGO beneath shoulder was sold for £ 280K including premium by Boningtons on Novemner 16, 2016. It had just been resurfaced by the consignor from a "pirate treasure" that had been constituted for him many years earlier by his grandfather who had been a lover of travels and coins.
On January 13, 2019, Baldwin's of Saint James's, successor to St. James's, sold another example for $ 1.08M including premium. This VIGO beneath shoulder has a slightly different position of the VIGO hallmark. It may have been a prototype whose irregular letter height in that mark was not acceptable for the rest of the production. This coin is graded Mint State 62 by PCGS and is perfectly centered.
1820 A Too Long Reign
2020 SOLD for $ 440K before fees
During this period, the final victory over the Napoleonic empire led the United Kingdom to the brink of financial ruin. The reform of 1816 defines a new currency, named sovereign or pound, which takes reference to a gold standard. The silver money is devalued and the guinea becomes outdated.
To engrave the new coinage, the Royal Mint hires Benedetto Pistrucci, an Italian medalist recently arrived in London. The gold sovereign features on the obverse the laureate head of an earlier portrait of the king and on the reverse a dynamic image of St George slaying the dragon.
They must now prepare the highest denominations. The 5-sovereigns succeeds to the 5-guineas, the last issue of which was dated from 1753. The creation of a double sovereign is also decided. These two references have the same design, based on the sovereign of 1817 with a rejuvenation of the king's face and the replacement of the saint's broken spear by a sword.
In early 1820, the dies are ready for the two new denominations. The king's death on January 29 forces the project to be canceled. The production is limited to 25 5-pound and 60 2-pound gold coins. Each of these values exists in two variants : the edge is either plain or inscribed in raised letters celebrating the 60th year of this too long reign.
A five pounds pattern coin with lettered edge, graded PR63 Deep Cameo by PCGS despite a scratch behind the tail of the horse, with a rich orange peel color, was sold for £ 360K including premium by Spink on May 14, 2015 over a lower estimate of £ 100K. It is estimated $ 425K for sale on January 19 in New York by Baldwin's of St James's, lot 169 linked here on the NumisBids bidding platform.
The lot 170 of the next sale, estimated $ 70K, is the highest graded copy of the two pounds pattern, certified PR64 Ultra Cameo by NGC. It has also the inscribed edge.
The gold double sovereign of George IV was released for circulation in 1823, followed two years later by the five-sovereigns.
The participation of William Wyon in 1820 in the retouching of Pistrucci's drawing is possible. The fact remains that the Una and the Lion by Wyon which will symbolize in 1839 the new reign of Victoria is undoubtedly a feminization of this heroic St George.
£ 5 : SOLD for $ 440K before fees
£ 2 : unsold
Happy #StGeorgesDay from #Spink #Coins!— Spink & Son (@SpinkandSon) April 23, 2020
Along with the 200th Anniversary of the first 5 Pounds we chose a #GeorgeIII, Pattern Five Pounds, 1820.
Only 25 made depicting St George and the Dragon as designed by Benedetto Pistrucci.
Sold in May 2015 for £360,000#numismatics #coins pic.twitter.com/rOcJjDSwvn
1839 The Young Head
2020 SOLD for $ 690K including premium
The new reign is organizing. Victoria is crowned on June 28, 1838 and married on February 10, 1840. In 1839 the Royal Mint commemorates the new reign with a prestigious issue including the fifteen monetary values from farthing to five pounds.
The highest denomination is the masterpiece of British coinage, both for aesthetics and for political importance. Wyon targeted it skilfully. The obverse is the young head. The reverse stages Una leading the lion. The young Una has the features of the new queen. The lion is the traditional symbol of Great Britain. A saying from the Psalms (117: 133) promises a kingdom delivered from sin.
These coins have not circulated. All the Five pounds inspected by PCGS or NGC are Proofs, graded between PR60 and PR66. The contrast must also be taken into account for their appraisal.
On September 26, 2015, Baldwin's sold for £ 500K including premium a full set of the fifteen denominations, in an unsurpassable condition. The eight highest denominations have all been graded PR66 or better by NGC. The Five pounds is the only known example of its kind in PR66, and its contrast is Ultra Cameo.
Regarding the sales of single pieces, Baldwin's of St James's sold on September 22, 2017 for £ 340K before fees a Five pounds graded PR65 Ultra Cameo by NGC. On January 13 in New York, Heritage sells a Five pounds graded PR64 Deep Cameo by PCGS, lot 32248 estimated $ 200K. With the same grade and contrast, another coin was sold for $ 260K including premium by Heritage on January 5, 2015.
POST SALE COMMENT
In the same sale, the next lot was another example of the same coin, graded PR61 Ultra Cameo by NGC. It was sold for $ 300K including premium.
1911 George V by the Grace of God
2003 SOLD for $ 690K including premium by Heritage
2019 SOLD for $ 550K including premium
Until 1907 Canadian coins were minted in Birmingham. This activity is refocused in Ottawa in 1908. The highest denomination, which was 50 cents since 1870, becomes 1 dollar by the Canadian Currency Act of 1910.
King Edward VII died in May 1910. The first Canadian silver dollars will be for 1911 with the identification and portrait of his successor George V. The tools and dies are prepared in London. The Royal Mint also makes a very small undocumented number of specimens. A demonstration coin in lead and two silver coins have survived.
The introduction of this new denomination does not really interest the Canadians. The first and fully different circulated silver dollar will be a commemorative issue in 1935. The promotional lead coin was discovered in 1977 in the premises of the Department of Finance. It was untouched in its original parcel.
The earliest known 1911 silver dollar was found by a dealer in 1960, possibly from the family of a previous Mint Master in London. Graded SP 65 by PCGS, it was sold for $ 690K including premium by Heritage on January 13, 2003. Now certified SP 64, also by PCGS, it is estimated $ 500K for sale by Heritage in Chicago on August 15, lot 31339.
The specimen for sale is the only one in private hands. The other silver dollar had been identified later by the same clever merchant in the collections of the Royal Mint Museum in London. It has been transferred for a permanent loan at the National Currency Collection in Ottawa.
The other Canadian denominations of 1911 display a curiosity : the qualification Dei Gra for Dei Gratia of the title of the king is voluntarily omitted. The dollars are the only pieces that escaped this initiative, since they had been prepared in London for the technological transfer. This eviction of God does not please the public : Dei Gra will come back in the following year on the Canadian coinage.
1920 The Sovereigns of the British Empire
2012 SOLD 780 K£ including premium
The British Empire extended over all regions of the world. It was logical that Australia, a major producer of gold, minted also these coins as soon as security enabled it. Coins made in Sydney, identified by the letter S, were issued from 1855 to 1926, for a total of 115 variants when separating the years.
For many decades, American collectors have built complete thematic series of their currencies composed of the best possible specimens. In other countries, this approach is still unfrequent. The sale by Baldwin's in three parts of the Bentley collection of British sovereigns shall be used as a reference.
The first sale, on 8 May 2012, included all variants made in London, with the exception of the 1819 sovereign which will be the top lot of the third sale in May 2013.
The second sale, on September 27 in London, is devoted to colonial issues.
The 1920-S sovereign is an exceptional piece. The extreme rarity of this variant is not correlated with the statistics of the plant, but it is likely that almost all coins minted in Sydney in 1920 remained mintmarked from the previous year.
This coin was purchased for Aus $ 580K including premium by its current owner in 2006 in an auction organized by KJC Coins. It is now estimated £ 300K. Both sides are shown on the article shared by Blouin Artinfo.
POST SALE COMMENT
The result is both excellent and very satisfying, because usually the high end of the modern coin market is dominated by U.S. dollars. The Australian sovereign was sold £ 780K, according to a tweet of the auction house.
The £ 780K figure includes the fees.
It has been found in 2014 that the few 1920-S sovereigns struck in 1920 were made on a special order for an NSW politician celebrating his gold wedding anniversary. The sovereign was expensive at that time in terms of gold content and no 1920 sovereign had been required by the officials to the Sydney mint. A 1920-S sovereign novodel made in 1926 after cleaning the reverse die is also known. This story is narrated by Sterling & Currency.
1936 The Gold Sovereign of Edward VIII
2014 SOLD 520 K£ including premium
This too rapid succession of events generated two of the rarest coin issues of the last century. One of these, marked 1937, was made in 1936. The other one, marked 1936, was made in 1937.
The British mint is active to prepare the image of the young king. He breaks a centuries old custom by choosing a portrait with his face turned in the same direction as that of his predecessor.
When he abdicates, the dies had been ready. They display the date 1937 because they were intended for release in time for the coronation. They are destroyed to prepare the coinage of his brother George VI.
In the twentieth century, they took great care that the coins of first strike be set aside as a special issue for prestige. The very first gold sovereigns of Edward VIII had already been produced. They were not destroyed but they were so rare that the Duke of Windsor himself had no opportunity to acquire one.
The only gold sovereign of Edward VIII available on the market is estimated £ 250K, for sale by Baldwin's in London on May 8. It is illustrated on the release shared by AuctionPublicity.
The other rarity generated by this tumultuous reign is a Canadian coin. In 1937, the Canadian mint needs a decision for its 1 cent coin. It unearths the sick head of George V, but with the date 1936 which remains politically correct with respect to the end of his reign.
One of the three surviving units of the 1 cent coin minted in 1937 was discussed previously in this column. It was sold for $ 400K including premium by Heritage on 3 January 2010.
POST SALE COMMENT
This highly rare coin was sold for £ 430K before fees.
1937 A Dot for the Late King
2010 SOLD 400 K$ including premium
2019 SOLD for $ 310K including premium
The abdication of Edward VIII on December 11, 1936 comes at the worst time for the monetary calendar : the British Royal Mint had already begun preparing the 1937 dies with his effigy.
At that time a shortage happens on three Canadian coins. For these 1 cent, 10 cents and 25 cents, it is indeed impossible to display the name and portrait of the resigning king, and the availability of dies identifying his successor is not yet scheduled.
For these three denominations, the Royal Canadian Mint prepares the first dies for the 1937 production by reusing the 1936 design with the name and effigy of the late King George V. The date of 1936 is also reused : the mark of 1937 cannot be suitable for this king who died in January 1936. The new coin is only differentiated from the real 1936 coin by a tiny dot below the date.
The Canadian plant produces a very small number of specimens of the three dotted coins and of the three unmodified denominations, 5 cents, 50 cents and 1 dollar. A small production for urgent circulation is released for the dot 25. The dot cent and the dot 10 will not be issued.
An employee of the Royal Canadian Mint had kept a complete set of the six specimens. Acquired together in 1954 by a collector, they were sold separately by Heritage in January 2003.
This group included the best of the three known George V dot cent 1936 coins. Certified Specimen 66 Red by PCGS, it was sold for $ 400K including premium by Heritage on January 3, 2010. I discussed it in this column before that sale. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
This specimen still had a layer of protective lacquer put by the factory to improve its short term preservation. Slight discolorations were reported in 2010. This coating has been removed and the coin is now graded SP 65 Red and Brown, also by PCGS. It is estimated $ 250K for sale by Heritage in Chicago on August 15, lot 31048.
RESULTS including premium :
1 cent : SOLD for $ 310K
10 cents : SOLD for $ 66K
2007 Her Majesty's Bullion
2010 SOLD 3.27 M€ before fees
Gold bullion coins generally have a purity of 99.99%.
In 2007, the Royal Canadian Mint announces the launch of a product line to 99.999%. And as now the only way to get noticed is gigantism, they produce a coin with facial value of 1 million Canadian $. A small number of investors will then order similar parts.
The piece measures 53 cm in diameter, 3 cm thick, and weighs 100 kg. Chemists will appreciate this remarkable feat of engineering. The obverse is a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. The reverse shows the emblem of Canada, three maple leaves. Its value to weight is approximately € 3.2 million.
The copy that was owned by an Austrian financial company is for sale by Dorotheum in Vienna on June 25. Exciting fate for this symbol of capitalism: the owner has gone bankrupt!
POST SALE COMMENT
This lot has been sold 3.27 million € before fees. This is the price of its metal value to weight, not surprisingly. The extreme purity of gold has not generated an added value.