News has come in from auction firm Spink that, “An extremely rare portrait of Elizabeth I, with only two examples recorded, struck on gold coin alignment saw a new world record for an Elizabethan numismatic item, a world record for Elizabethan artistic portraiture and a new house record for the Spink Coin Department too with the breathtaking total hammer £480,000.”
That’s just over $650,000 and the coin is worth every penny of that. There are only two recorded examples of this 1601 pattern struck in gold and the last public appearance for this type was in October 1956. This is a gold piece that has been missing from even the finest numismatic cabinets both past and present.
The 3/4 left portrait of Elizabeth I is dazzlingly beautiful and extremely detailed. It is far more ornate and attractive than any of the many varieties of profile portraits seen on Elizabethan regular issue coinage. The reverse offers a distinctive crowned Elizabeth monogram dividing the date.
You will find neither of these dies used on any coin, except the silver and gold pattern strikes from this late date in the rule of Elizabeth I. Graded MS61 by NGC, this example is fully struck and will certainly be a true centerpiece for its new owner, just as it must have been for Horace Hird.
The complete Hird Collection of British Gold coinage sold at Spink realized approximately $3.8 million including buyer’s premiums on just 52 lots. This in itself is amazing; with pre-sale estimates being left in the dust and final hammer prices passing those estimates in multiples.
For additional details on Spink’s Horace Hird British Gold Auction, see an extended examination in the upcoming November issue of World Coin News.