One of the most famous of all British crown coins established two records when it sold for £396,000 (about $657,818 U.S.) in Spink’s March 27 auction in London.
The sale price (it includes the 20 percent buyer’s fee) surpassed the previous record-holder for an English crown coin, a Petition crown from the same former collection. The Reddite crown in the March 27 sale also established a record price for an English silver coin, according to Ed Rivers of Spink.
The Reddite crown is graded Good Extremely Fine, according to Spink, and was estimated to sell for £100,000 to £120,000 (about $167,233 to $200,680 U.S.
Two telephone bidders battled over the coin, considered the finest known example of the Reddite silver crown pattern. The coin was named for the Latin edge legend that reads REDDITE QVÆ CÆSARIS CÆSARI &CT. The legend translates to “Render unto Caesar things that are Caesar’s. ...”
The edge references Christ’s words noted in the Gospels on the relationship between religion and secular authority, a topic of interest considering that the English Civil Wars were influenced by religious motives.
Also on the edge of the Reddite crown are a sun emerging from clouds and the abbreviation POST, invoking the Latin phrase “Post Nubila Phoebus,” meaning “the sun shines after the storm.” The legend is a reference to the restoration of the monarchy of Charles II.
The Reddite crown was struck in 1663, not long after the Restoration following the ouster of Oliver Cromwell at the conclusion of the English Civil War.
Charles II appears on the obverse of the coin, which carries the same Thomas Simon design as his more famous, slightly more common Petition crown. The latter is named for the lengthy plea that appears in two lines on the edge of the coin, a revolutionary accomplishment at the time.
Simon’s plea on the Petition crown reads THOMAS SIMON MOST HUMBLY PRAYS YOUR MAJESTY TO COMPARE THIS HIS TRYALL PIECE WITH THE DUTCH AND IF MORE TRULY DRAWN AND EMBOSS’D MORE GRACEFULLY ORDER’D AND MORE ACCURATELY ENGRAVEN TO RELIEVE HIM.
The reverses of the Reddite and Petition crowns are engraved with four crowned cruciform shields of England, Scotland, Ireland and France, arranged in the form of a cross, with a detailed insignia of the Order of the Garter placed in the center.
Only five silver examples of the Reddite crown are known, whereas an estimated 16 Petition crowns are believed to exist, from a mintage of no more than 30 examples each, according to Spink.
Simon’s attempts to gain work as the royal engraver failed despite his reputation as the finest medalist and seal engraver of the time. He lost the commission because of his service to Cromwell during the Commonwealth after the Parliamentarians beheaded Charles I.
The Dutch engravers John and Joseph Roettiers earned the commission because they assisted Charles II while he was in Holland in exile.
The Reddite crown sold March 27 is “the twin” to a Petition crown that Spink sold Sept. 27, 2007, for a record £207,100 (about $417,637 U.S.)
Both coins came from the Glenister Collection, a family collection built in the 1940s and 1950s. The collection was split “some time ago,” across two arms of the same family on the death of its creator, according to Spink coin specialist William Mackay.
The Reddite crown in the Glenister Collection was bought in 1950, six years after the Glenister example of the Petition crown was bought.
Both Glenister examples of Simon’s handiwork have a provenance dating back to 1755.