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Spink Slates Edward VIII Pattern Penny

Pearl-of-great-price: the sole Edward VIII pattern penny available to collectors outside that in a complete set of the uncrowned monarch’s coins. It will be offered by Spink in London on Sept. 24 as part of ‘The Waterbird Collection of English Rarities’. Images courtesy and © Spink

On Tuesday, Sept. 24, Spink will put ‘The Waterbird Collection of English Rarities’ up for sale in their London auction rooms.

This collection comprises 65 lots of English numismatic rarities ranging from medieval gold nobles through to what the Spink media release describes as one of “the holy grails of 20th-century numismatics”, an Edward VIII pattern proof penny.

All Edward VIII patterns are of the highest rarity. Few are available to collectors. A detailed summary is given in Joseph S. Giordano’s treatise “Portraits of a Prince”. They were struck for thirteen denominations as both brilliant and matt proofs. Excluding the trial strikes for the nickel-brass threepence, no more than two of any denomination is in private hands but for half the denominations there is just one.

Of these a dozen are contained in a complete Edward VIII brilliant proof pattern set sold by private treaty through Spink for £450,000 several decades ago. One of two brilliant proof pennies known in private hands forms part of that set.

The other was included in a six-coin part set offered by Richard Lobel through Bowers and Ruddy at their ANA sale in 1978. This was the first and last time this penny appeared at auction.

That part set was subsequently broken up and the penny was sold by Mark Rasmussen privately in 2003 for a reported £35,000. It is that coin that is being offered by Spink as part of the Waterbird Collection and is expected to realize more than $50,000.

If its desirability needs enhancing further, it goes to the block in a most delightful NGC PF63+ RB – although this perhaps simply gilds a magnificent lily.

For those with little interest in Edward and his coins, the Waterbird offering also contains a unique 1808 pattern penny in NGC MS65BN that was once housed in the cabinet of Dr. Ernest Christison Carter, and before that was part of the Boulton family estate.

There is also a variety of seldom-seen Victorian issues including a fabled 1860 copper penny, halfpenny, and farthing plus a legendary 1922 penny with a 1927 reverse.

But if copper and bronze aren’t really your scene, how about stunning presentation proof pattern halfcrowns of James II from 1687 (NGC PF63) and George IV from 1822 (NGC PF64)? Only three specimens are recorded of each. If gold is more your metier, try the finest graded George I 2 guineas of 1726 that comes in a handsome NGC MS64+.

Full catalog details are available from www.spink.com. In lieu of a hard copy of the auction catalog to grace readers’ numismatic libraries, a pdf is well worth downloading from the Spink website.


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