Among many desirable rarities in Heritage Auction’s April 7-11 Chicago World Coins Signature sale, a group of British milled gold stands out. It includes coins from both the Mother Country and its colonies.
Top of the bill is a major piece of British numismatic history: an extremely rare Charles II pattern crown of 1663 by John Roettiers struck as a gold proof (ESC-356 [previously -25]). It goes to the block graded Proof-58 by the Professional Coin Grading Service. Wilson and Rasmussen cite a known mintage of six for this pattern.
The coin is an intriguing piece. The reverse appears to be that of Charles’ second type of milled silver crowns with the cruciform shields of England, Scotland, France and Ireland shown in full between interlocking Cs. There are eleven strings in the Irish harp.
The obverse presents a laureate portrait of Charles II but the effigy is that used on his first type of silver crowns most of which come dated 1662. It lacks the rose beneath his bust as used for those first crowns struck in silver sourced from west England. It also has GRATIA written in full in the legend which is unusual but not unknown among first type silver crowns.
The edge is marked DECVS • ET • TVTAMEN • XV. The Roman numeral denotes the regnal year of Charles II dated from the execution of Charles I.
An identical proof was sold by Bonhams in October 2006 for £17,625 [$21,884]. It came graded, “nearly fine to good fine” with “3 to 5 specimens known.”
British gold 5 guineas pieces have proved remarkably popular in recent years. One is in the current sale, a most pleasing example from George II dated 1748, KM-586.2, S-3666. The obverse shows the old laureate head with the edge marked V. SECVNDO. Graded AU-50 it should have no problems reaching five figures.
Several choice examples of come from Canada. These include a George V sovereign dated 1916, KM-20. Struck at Ottawa it carries the all-important “C” mm below the horse’s right rear hoof. Just 6,119 of this date were struck with the surviving population estimated at about 50. Of these, 37 have been certified by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation and PCGS. The present example is graded MS-63 by PCGS. The bidding is expected to be intense.
But that bidding may well be matched by that for a second Ottawa coin: a specimen sovereign of Edward VII dated 1909-C, KM-14. It comes graded a superb SP65 PCGS and was previously sold by Heritage in April 2014 for $30,550.
Also sourced from north of the 49th parallel is a magnificent gold specimen Newfoundland $2 of 1872, KM-5. The obverse features the laureate bust of the young Queen Victoria combined with a simple lettered reverse giving the date and value in a beaded circle. The legend TWO HUNDRED CENTS / TWO HUNDRED PENCE is redolent with numismatic history.
This coin should appeal not just Canadian collectors but to those who dabble in British colonial gold or, perhaps, the many issues of Queen Victoria. That appeal will be helped by its SP65 PCGS grade. It’s a gem!
And Australian gold has not been ignored. The British colony of South Australia has contributed a Type II Adelaide Pound of 1852, KM2, Fr-3. This example comes in an unusually high grade of MS-62 NGC placing it among the top couple of dozen survivors.
Full lot details including estimates are available on-line at www.ha.com.
This article was originally printed in World Coin News. >> Subscribe today.
More Collecting Resources
• The Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1601-1700 is your guide to images, prices and information on coins from so long ago.
• Any coin collector can tell you that a close look is necessary for accurate grading. Check out this USB microscope today!