Historic English 5 guineas have dominated the British sale scene in recent months. But it was a much smaller gold coin, a first issue 1663 guinea (20 shillings) of Charles II, that led the field at Spink London’s July auction.
The catalog rightly described the lot as “a remarkable specimen.” The obverse showed Charles’ first draped and laureate bust with elephant below. The reverse displayed the monarch’s crowned shields in cruciform array with scepters in the angles (KM-420.2; S-3339). Graded EF and with an estimate of £25,000-30,000 it raced away to take $70,740 [£54,000].
A long way back in the price stakes, yet still selling well over estimate, came a hammered shilling of Charles’ dad – a 1642 civil war issue struck from an Aberystwyth die. The 6.08 g coin shows a plume in front of Charles I bust on the obverse. The reverse features the monarch’s declaration in three lines with three Shrewsbury plumes above (KM-203; S-2935). In aVF it realized $9,432 [£7,200] on its £1,500-2,000 estimate.
From a January 2017 detector find in Gloucestershire came a delightful 5.09 g gold stater of the Iron Age Dobunni people. Bearing the retrograde name of COMUX over a tripled-tailed horse it dates from 1-15 C.E. (S-385). Graded gVF it had no problem fetching a healthy $7,860 [£6,000].
A George VI four-coin gold specimen set of 1937 (KM-PS22; S-PS15) realized $13,362 [£10,200] in brilliant UNC while a Victoria Gothic crown of 1847 in choice UNC took $5,435 [£4,480].
But the English did not have the sale all to themselves. A rare gold “hat piece” or 80 shillings of James VI of Scotland dated 1592 (KM: MB-154; S-5457) managed a most satisfactory $7,064 [£5,400] in F.
Two rare historic British medals provoked considerable bidder interest. A 55 mm Victorian Royal Geographical Society, Patron’s Medal gold prize medal by William Wyon showing Minerva with map and laurel wreath beside a globe took $26,724 [£20,400] in gEF.
And a remarkable 1642 military reward in silver-gilt showing Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, went for $2,987 [£2,280] in EF.
All details are available from www.spink.com. A premium of 20 percent is included in all prices. These have been converted at a rate of 1GBP = 1.31USD.
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