See also : Gold coins Coins 1000-1775 20th century coins British Royals
Chronology : 1700-1709 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.
1257 The Failure of the Gold Penny
2021 SOLD for $ 720K including premium
Other European countries want to follow the success of the florin. In England gold reserves begin to accumulate. In 1257 King Henry III commissions his goldsmith William of Gloucester to create a gold penny of 45 grains with an official value of 20 pence.
Arithmetic did not match : the gold penny was deliberately undervalued by about 20%. The London merchants represented by the Lord Mayor formally challenged this scam that threatened the silver coinage. King Henry was unpopular. His Lusignan advisers were hated. His foreign policy was indecisive and expensive. He had no choice but to give up. The acceptance of a gold penny by a creditor ceased to be mandatory a few months after its launch.
The following year is much worse, with catastrophic harvests. The coup of Simon de Montfort puts an end to the government of this incompetent king. This totally failed experiment for an English gold-silver bimetallism falls into complete oblivion within a few years.
Most of these gold penny coins, heavier than their official value and no more supported by the government, were very early melted. Eight pieces survived. One of them, close to perfection, graded MS63 by NGC, is estimated $ 250K for sale by Heritage in Dallas on January 21, 2021, lot 31154.
The tweets below were issued when this coin was listed by the same auction house for a sale in January 2018. It was withdrawn.
Happy Tuesday Twitter friends ~ We hope your 2018 is off to a good start. If you are a collector of coins, there's quite a few 'pretty pennies' or more accurately, rare pennies, up for bid this month through Heritage Auctions. Learn more: https://t.co/FtYfSzxTQL pic.twitter.com/f74NwWRDaG— Antique Trader (@AntiqueTrader) January 2, 2018
1662 Charles II Pattern Crown
2021 SOLD for $ 780K including premium by Heritage
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.
1773 George III Pattern Five Guineas
2021 SOLD for $ 750K including premium by Heritage
⭐⭐Rare George III Proof Pattern 5 Guineas⭐⭐— Heritage Auctions - Coins (@heritagecoins) February 26, 2021
George III gold Proof Pattern 5 Guineas 1773 PR64 Cameo NGC.
Lot No. 30319 I March 25-27 The Paramount Collection of World & Ancient Coins Sale No. 3096https://t.co/uROHGjeLf7#WorldCoins #Numismatics #CoinCollectors pic.twitter.com/ibQh2rkBkj
1839 Una and the Lion
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.
2021 SOLD for $ 1.44M by Heritage
Arguably one of the best specimens in existence, it is graded PR 66 Ultra Cameo by NGC, including the star suffix which means an outstanding visual quality. It is the finest example known by NGC.
Its model has the lowest rarity from nine varieties. The PCGS PR 64 Deep Cameo coin sold in 2020 was from the same run, certainly the original mintage of about 400 coins. The Royal Mint made restrikes up to 1886.
On September 26, 2015, Baldwin's sold for £ 500K a full set of the fifteen denominations, in a great condition. The eight highest denominations have all been graded PR66 or better by NGC. The Five pounds is a PR66 Ultra Cameo.
#HERITAGELIVE Sole finest certified representative of the classic British gold rarity, this 1839 Victoria gold proof "Una and the Lion" 5 Pounds just sold with a record-breaking bid at $1,440, 000. Hear her roar! https://t.co/vhm5F6F2OO#HeritageAuctions #worldcoins pic.twitter.com/OF6QlVXhFZ— Heritage Auctions (@HeritageAuction) August 20, 2021
2020 SOLD for $ 690K by Heritage
In the same 2020 sale, the next lot was another example of the same coin, graded PR61 Ultra Cameo by NGC. It was sold for $ 300K.
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 Transient Perfection of Edward VIII
2021 SOLD for $ 2.3M including premium
A few proof sets of £ 5, £ 2 and £ 1 gold coins which had been prepared for the ceremony are not destroyed. Their quantity is estimated at 6. Most have been separated. There are two complete sets left, one in the Royal Mint and one in private hands in the Tyrant collection.
The quintuple sovereign of Edward VIII is thus the most desirable coin in British numismatics. On March 26 in Dallas, Heritage sells the finest, lot 30339 estimated $ 1M.
This coin is close to perfection. It is graded PR 67 Ultra Cameo by NGC. It has never been taken in hand, leaving its surface absolutely intact. The videos shared by Heritage are a superb demonstration of the night and day effect on both sides. No other Edward VIII quintuple has been certified by NGC or PCGS.
The highest auction price for an Edward VIII gold coin was for a Proof Cameo sovereign, sold for £ 520K including premium by Baldwin's on May 8, 2014. It was then sold in a private transaction for £ 1M in January 2020.
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.
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.