St. James's auctions' offers pair of triple unites

Auction offers 1643, 1644 examples of rare gold coins
Published : 09/24/11
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A pair of gold triple unite coins of Great Britain leads St. James’s Auctions’ sale No. 18, scheduled for Sept. 27.

The largest gold coin ever struck in Britain (measured by diameter but not by weight or value), the triple unite of Charles I is one of the great rarities of the English hammered series.

With a face value of 60 shillings (£3), the triple unite has a diameter of about 40 millimeters and weighs 421 grains, about .875 of an ounce. These coins were issued during the English Civil War by two mints (Oxford and Shrewsbury). They show the king (Charles I) on the obverse, with the reverse featuring his declaration of September 1642, in which he promised “to uphold the Protestant religion, the Laws of England and the Liberty of Parliament.”

Charles I made his declaration at Wellington in Shropshire, according to Coins of England and the United Kingdom, published by Spink (also called the Standard Catalogue of British Coins), 46th edition.

The pieces struck at Oxford are dated 1642, 1643 or 1644; one example each of the 1643 and 1644 coins is offered during St. James’s auction of British and Irish coins and medals in London.

The finer of the two examples offered in the auction is dated 1643; this coin is in “practically Mint State,” is lustrous and struck “on an excellent round flan ... both sides beautifully centered, thus in all a quite exceptional specimen.”

It has an estimate of £125,000 to £140,000 (about $191,990 to $215,029 U.S.).

The lower grade piece of the two examples, which is dated 1644 and was once part of the famed Virgil Brand Collection, is “virtually Mint State.” Its estimate is £110,000 to £120,000 (about $168,890 to $184,244 U.S.).

The pair, combined with two offered in Dix Noonan Webb’s Sept. 28 auction (see story at, brings the number of examples of the rarity offered in conjunction with the Coinex show to four.

Write to St. James’s Auctions at 43 Duke St., St. James’s, London, SW1Y 6DD, or telephone the firm at (011) 020 7930 7597.

Some additional highlights:

Alderney, Elizabeth II, 2006 kilogram gold £1,000, Friedberg 47 (Gold Coins of the World by Arthur L. and Ira S. Friedberg), in fitted case of issue, Lot 481, Proof issue, graded Uncirculated in catalog.

England, Henry VIII, circa 1544 to 1547 gold half sovereign, third coinage, Tower Mint, Spink 2294 (Coins of England and the United Kingdom, published by Spink), Lot 45, “practically Extremely Fine.”

England, Edward VI, circa 1547 to 1549 gold sovereign, Tower Mint, Spink 2433, Lot 47, EF “or nearly so.”

England, Elizabeth I, circa 1582 to 1584 gold fine sovereign, sixth issue, Spink 2529, Lot 50, Very Fine.

England, Commonwealth, 1651 gold unite, Lot 72, given two grade descriptions, nearly Mint State by the catalogers and MS-63 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp.

England, Charles II, hammered coinage (circa 1660 to 1662) gold unite, first issue, S-3301, Lot 76, About EF.

England, Anne, 1703 silver halfcrown, TERTIO edge, Spink 3579, Lot 151, About EF.

England, Anne, 1706 gold 5-guinea coin, QVINTO edge, Spink 3566, Lot 374, “a few light surface marks, otherwise practically as struck.”

Great Britain, George I, 1726 silver halfcrown, D. TERTIO edge, Spink 3644, Lot 172, VF.

Great Britain, George II, 1741 gold 5-guinea coin, D. QVARTO edge, Spink 3663A, Lot 388, “practically as struck.”

Great Britain, George IV, 1823 silver halfcrown, first reverse, Spink 3807, Lot 201, About EF.

Great Britain, George IV, 1825 gold sovereign, Spink 3800, Lot 486, “practically Mint State,” NGC MS-62.

Great Britain, George IV, 1826 gold £5 coin, Spink 3797, Lot 413, Proof issue, Good EF.

Great Britain, William IV, 1831 gold £2, bare head, Spink 3828, Lot 424, Proof issue, “about Mint State.”

Great Britain, Victoria, 1841 silver halfcrown, Spink 3888, Lot 217, EF.

Great Britain, George VI, 1937 gold coronation medal, by Percy Metcalfe, “in original case of issue, Lot 587, “a few light hairlines otherwise practically Mint State.” ■

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