Spink London put Part 2 of the Slaney Collection of English Coins on the block May 14.
The entire collection had been assembled with great care and considerable expense between 1940 and 1960. Several celebrated collections were dispersed during those decades. Many of their top coins contributed to the present catalog. Many came with impressive provenances dating back to the 19th century.
Twelve years ago Slaney Part I was sold by Spink. At the time a number of record prices for English coins were achieved. Those results pale into insignificance when put alongside the results of May 14.
The total realized including commission was $4,805,538 [£3,139,482] or $16,180 a lot.
The sale warmed up with the hammered gold. Every coin attracted very strong bidding. Almost all exceeded their high estimates and, in most cases, doubled them. Typical of the spectacular results are:
Elizabeth I 1583-1600 half pound, EF: $44,212 [£28,800] (top estimate $15,350 [£10,000]);
James I 1619-25 rose ryal of 30 shillings, EF: $71,838 [£46,800] (top estimate $27,549 [£18,000]);
Charles I 1644 Oxford unite, EF: $106,838 [£69,600] (top estimate $38,375 [£25,000]).
Similar prices were returned in hammered silver where, again, the coins of Charles I were to the fore:
Oxford pound, 1644, KM-340, aEF: $221,075 [£144,000] (top estimate $122,816 [£80,000]);
Carlisle besieged (1644-45) three shillings, gVF: $86,584 [£56,400];
Pontefract besieged (1648-49) two shillings, aEF: $81,058 [£52,800].
Milled gold set two world records.
Charles I’s son takes responsibility for one of these. A Charles II 5 guineas of 1673 in EF realized $248,703 [£162,000], the highest price ever paid for this coin type. No doubt its superb deep red tone enhanced this item’s desirability. Sotheby’s, by the way, sold the same coin in June 1903 for £12.5.0d or about $50.
But the undoubted star of the entire show was provided by George III. His contribution was a pattern 5 pounds of 1820 sporting Benedetto Pistrucci’s George and the Dragon motif. Just 25 of these coins were ever struck. This one came described as having, “light handling marks and a small scratch behind horse’s tail, otherwise brilliant good extremely fine, extremely rare” … It attracted three times its high estimate, an eye-watering $552,688 [£360,000].
The corresponding George III pattern 2 pounds took $64,479 [£42,000] while the example of Queen Victoria’s classic Una and the Lion realized $202,649 [£132,000].
Full details are available on the Spink website: www.spink.com. Click on Auctions > Prices Realized> Slaney Collection.