See also : Coin Gold coins Silver coins Coins 1800-49 Coins 1870-99 20th century coins British coins Russia 1700-1900 British Royals Canada
Chronology : 1800-1809 1920 2007
1621 The Ducats of King Sigismund
2018 SOLD for $ 2.16M including premium
The sharpness of the strike on such a large item is exceptional for its time. The rim circle and the centering of the unit for sale are almost perfect : 69.4 x 69.1 cm. It is 4.9 mm thick and weighs 349.49 grams. Tiny hairlines subsequent from handling are inevitable because of the malleability of gold. The coin is signed I.I. and S.A. It could only be used for presentation.
No previous edition is comparable. The 100 ducats coin issued in 1629 for King Ferdinand of Hungary and Bohemia, later the Emperor Ferdinand III, is of similar design with the portrait of the monarch on one side and royal shields on the other.
The coin lists the titles of Sigismund III Vasa as King of Poland and Sweden and Grand Duke of Lithuania, Russia, Prussia, Masuria, Samogitia and Livonia. The king is decorated with the Order of the Golden Fleece as a sign of allegiance to the Habsburgs.
Sigismund was a fervent Catholic born in a Protestant dynasty. He wanted to take over the throne of Sweden which he had lost for that reason in 1599 and was unpopular in Poland. At the beginning of the Thirty Years War, Poland was threatened with an invasion by the Turks but he did not participate directly in the resistance of the Khotyn Fortress in Moldavia against the Ottoman army in 1621. The conjunction of date of the 100 ducats coin with this heroic event is a mere coincidence or an opportunity.
Jacob Jacobson van Emden who signed with his Latinized initials I.I. was since 1616 the mint master in Bydgoszcz (Bromberg). The 100 ducats coin is a demonstration of his know-how which undoubtedly helped him to obtain from 1623 a direct or indirect responsibility over six other royal mints. The initials S.A. designate the engraver Samuel Ammon.
Exceedingly rare Poland commemorative 100 Dukat (349.49 grams) of Zygmunt III Wasa, celebrating 1621 victory over Ottomans, offered by CNG at 46th New York International Numismatic Convention, 10 January 2018, is one of the largest gold coins ever struck. https://t.co/I1Ad44EOqD pic.twitter.com/90dcByCj9A— Ancient Nomos (@ANAMCurator) December 8, 2017
1640 The Warin Gold
2019 SOLD for CHF 700K before fees
The circulation coins are the double-louis, the louis and the demi-louis. To launch this operation, coins of 10 louis, 8 louis and 4 louis are also released, in very small quantities. They enter into the category of 'pièces d'hommage' or 'pièces de plaisir'. They have not been documented in period and the only supposed use is at the king's gaming table. Such an operation will never be repeated and these coins are the most prestigious in the history of the French currency.
The cardinal de Richelieu, minister of Louis XIII, was the instigator of this reform. He took the opportunity to skilfully reduce the gold content from 0.958 to 0.917.
They display on one side the portrait of Louis XIII in profile and the date 1640. The bust is naked for the 4 and 8 louis and draped for the 10 louis. The other side shows the attributes of royalty, crowns, fleurs-de-lis, intertwined L's which form a cross, and the letter A which designates the Paris workshop.
An 8 louis weighing 53.68 g was sold for € 210K including premium by Rouillac on June 11, 2017. A 4 louis weighing 26.86 g was sold for € 290K including premium by Briscadieu on September 20, 2019.
On November 19 in Geneva, NGSA (Numismatica Genevensis) sells an example of the heaviest French gold coin, a 10 louis weighing 67.49 g, with a starting bid of CHF 500K, lot 657 here linked on the Biddr auction platform.
1652 The First Coins of New England
2014 SOLD 650 K$ including premium
In 1652, the government establishes a mint in Boston in charge of producing coins for the entire New England consisting in the colonies of Masathusets (spelling of the time), Plymouth, Connecticut and New Haven. Three denominations are created: 3, 6 and 12 pence, the latter being also a shilling.
This social progress responds primarily to a need for regulation. The new coins are worth less than their face value when they leave the American territory, and no effort is made to make them pleasant.
The faces are pewter gray without any figure, just punched on one side by the letters NE for New England and on the other side by the monetary value in Roman numerals. The very first emission has deep marks. In the next issues the punching is soft.
This very rudimentary coinage is in regression against the currencies issued two millennia earlier, and calls to counterfeiting. Very soon a figure is created. The first one is a willow, followed by other trees from 1660.
Coins with deep punching have certainly been made in the first year of the plant. A shilling graded AU50 by PCGS was sold for $ 417K including premium by Heritage on 11 August 2010.
On May 16 in New York, Heritage sells the best known example of the 6 pence coin, graded AU58 by NGC, lot 30258 in the catalog. It comes from the Newman collection.
POST SALE COMMENT
This piece of history was sold for $ 650K including premium. It is in a remarkable condition for its category.
1740 silver pattern rouble for Ivan VI
2012 SOLD 3.6 MCHF before fees by Sincona
1741 The 20 Ducat Gold Coin of Basel
2014 SOLD for CHF 800K before fees
On November 25 in Geneva, Numismatica Genevensis sells a presentation specimen of this coin in a stunning condition, lot 581 estimated CHF 500K. Here is the link to the site of the auction house.
The engraving is very sharp and very attractive, with Basel symbols including a spectacular basilisk with outspread wings, the coat of arms of the city and the arms of the eight associated municipalities, plus a cornucopia. One side displays a wide panoramic view of Basel with the houses over the Rhine, a bridge and two boats.
The only other surviving copy, in poorer condition, is preserved in the museum of Zurich.
I invite you to play the video shared by Numismatica Genevensis showing the great quality of carving of the Basel cityscape :
1766 The Early Maturity of Catherine the Great
2012 SOLD 800 K$ before fees
The first coins depicting the new Empress showed the face of a young woman.
This ambitious certainly wished offering another figure of herself to better enforce her authority. In 1763, her enthroned portrait by Rokotov flatters the maturity of this 34 year old woman, already imposing and ruling.
In 1766, a new rouble is prepared, with a bust profiled to the right which may have been inspired by the painting of Rokotov. The engraving is very sharp compared to the regular Russian coinage of the time. A few specimens are made, but this pattern coin will never be released.
One of three known pieces is estimated $ 1M, for sale by Baldwin's in New York on January 5. The estimate may seem high, but Russian art collectors often outbid for imperial rarities.
This coin is illustrated in the release shared by CoinWeek. The other side shows a two-headed eagle. I complete the iconography of this article by inviting you to view on Wikipedia the portrait of Catherine the Great by Rokotov.
POST SALE COMMENT
I feared that this lot would be difficult to sell. Although it remained below the estimate, I consider that the price, $ 800K before fees, is excellent.
1808 pattern rouble of Alexander I
2013 SOLD 1 MCHF before fees by Sincona
1827 pattern rouble of Nicholas I
2013 SOLD 2.05 MCHF before fees by Sincona
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.
1886 Ruble Patterns for the Tsars
2014 SOLD for CHF 1.5M including premium
On 9 October 2012, Sincona sold for CHF 3.6 million before fees a pattern coin made in 1740 with the figure of the baby Tsar Ivan VI. A coin dated 1766 for Catherine II was sold for $ 800K before fees by Baldwin's on January 5, 2012.
Catherine's successor, Paul I, interrupted the tradition of offering the portrait of the Tsar on the coinage.
However, during the confusion that followed the death of Alexander I in 1825, a test piece was struck with the effigy of the apparent heir, Grand Duke Constantine, who had not yet confirmed his refusal to reign. This Constantine ruble is the most prestigious currency in the Russian numismatics. One of them was sold for $ 525K before fees by Baldwin's and M & M on January 15, 2004, a very high price for that time.
In the second specialized Sincona auction from 14 to 16 October 2013, the highest results were achieved for pattern rubles with the two-headed eagle: CHF 1M before fees for the 1808 coin and CHF 2.05 million before fees for the 1827 coin.
In 1886, the portrait of Tsar Alexander III will come back onto the silver rubles and two medalists are in competition. A pattern coin from one of the non accepted models is for sale by Sincona in Zürich on 13 and 14 October. Both sides of this beautiful piece are shown in the article posted by Numismatic News.
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.
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 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.