One of four privately held pattern shillings of Edward VI, struck
circa 1547, realized £9,600 ($14,529 in U.S. funds), including the 20
percent buyer’s fee, in a London auction May 5. That price was more
than three times its high estimate of £3,000.
The coin was sold by A.H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd., and has a
provenance dating back to an April 16 to 20, 1901, auction by Sotheby’s.
According to Baldwin & Sons, it is “one of the most spectacular
pieces of engraving art of the time.”
Joe Bispham researched the series, publishing “The Base Silver
Shillings of Edward VI” in the British Numismatic Journal in 1985.
Bispham suggests that the coin was an early prototype piece for
coinage of this denomination and may well have been produced for presentation.
“This piece was produced at a time when the young boy King’s name
was not upon his coinage but still in the name of his father, King
Henry VIII, due to the poor debased state the coinage had been left in
for the silver and gold denominations,” according to auction firm,
citing Bispham’s research.
Baldwin’s catalog adds: “A fine silver pattern of such intricate
engraving detail must have been produced to show that the new King,
though of a young age, was powerful and also the new Head of the
Church of England.”
The pattern was struck at the Tower Mint in London.
Though the coin displays some “weakness in parts,” the auction firm
grades the piece Good Fine.
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