Modified on December 24, 2020 before another auction
Gold coins of Byzantine and Arabic origins were sufficient for international trade. Local circulation was managed in silver coins. The new influx of gold into Europe is a direct consequence of the Crusades. In 1252 Florence creates the florin in pure gold weighing 54 grains corresponding to 3.5 grams.
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 It was withdrawn.
SOLD for $ 720K including premium