English coins shine in auction

Law collection doubles estimate
Published : 09/14/13
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A collection of English gold coins assembled by renowned exhibitor Thos. H. Law doubled its high estimates in Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio’s Aug. 13 auction.

The 459 lots realized $5,016,351 in the Rosemont, Ill., auction, including the 17.5 percent buyer’s fee. Leading the auction was the undated (circa 1492 to 1493) sovereign of Henry VII, among the first of all sovereigns ever issued.

The Type I example, graded “Very Fine Plus,” realized $499,375 against an estimate of $125,000 to $175,000.

The coinage of Henry VII marked the transition from medieval to modern coinage.

During his reign, in 1489 a new gold coin debuted — the sovereign. More than 500 years later, the coin (with a different design, dating to 1817) remains an integral part of British coinage.

The Law Collection included four of the five design types of Henry VII, each with a slightly different design style. All show the king seated on King Edward’s Chair on the obverse, paired with the Tudor rose and arms on the reverse.

An undated Type IV sovereign in the auction, issued circa 1502 to 1504, realized $223,250 against an estimate of $75,000 to $125,000. The coin exhibits a very light crease “as made” and was graded by the auction house as VF Plus.

A Fine sovereign of 30 shillings value, issued under Edward VI in 1551 at the Southwark Mint, appeared in the auction in Extremely Fine condition. It was estimated at $100,000 to $125,000, and more than tripled the lower estimate, reaching $329,000.

The reign of a later monarch, William IV, lasted only from 1830 to 1837, but was the subject of numerous gold patterns, one notably an 1831 pattern crown struck in gold. One of perhaps six to 10 examples known, Law’s example of the pattern was graded Proof 63 Ultra Cameo by Numismatic Guaranty Corp.; it realized $305,500 compared to its estimate of $125,000 to $175,000.

The Law Collection boasted a pair of Una and the Lion £5 coins of Victoria. One, graded Proof 62 Ultra Cameo by NGC, realized $105,750. A second, sold unencapsulated as Brilliant Proof, brought $76,375.

A diminutive milled gold half crown of Elizabeth, weighing in at only 21.7 grains (1.406 grams), sold for $41,125, more than five times its high estimate of $8,000.

Full prices realized can be viewed at the auction house website, www.stacksbowers.com. ■

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