US Coins

George V gold pattern crown realizes $219,364 U.S. in auction

Press release from Dix Noonan Webb:

One of only two known specimens of the 1910 George V pattern crown in gold designed by A.G. Wyon topped Dix Noonan Webb’s auction of coins, tokens and historical medals on Feb. 11, 2015, when it fetched £144,000 ($219,364 U.S.) including buyer’s commission (£120,000 hammer price). 

The other highlight of the sale was a group of 20th century Royal Mint Proof-record coins formerly in the Melbourne Mint Museum in Australia, which sold for a total of £213,732 (£178,110 hammer prices). Overall the auction made £635,436 (£529,530 hammer prices) with only 31 of the 709 lots remaining unsold. There were 220 successful buyers.

The Wyon rarity was produced following the death of the British King Edward VII in May 1910. Plans for new coins bearing the portrait of his successor George V were put into place long before the latter was formally crowned at Westminster Abbey in London in June the following year. A number of designs were submitted to the authorities for approval, one of which was by A.G. Wyon, a member of a dynasty of designers and engravers which had played an important role in British public life for more than a century. Wyon’s design had the bare head of the new king facing left on the obverse while the reverse depicted St. George on horseback spearing a dragon, with the date below this image.

Despite his illustrious family pedigree, Wyon’s design was not chosen so his Proof crown in gold bearing the date 1910 – the year before George officially became king – became a numismatic rarity rather than standard currency.

Only two examples are known and the coin auctioned at Dix Noonan Webb is in virtually Mint State. It has been in a number of important collections over the past century.

“There has been considerable interest in this”, said auctioneer Christopher Webb, head of the coins department at DNW, before the coin swiftly exceeded its £80,000 to £100,000 estimate.

The 86 lots of Proof-record coins formerly in the Melbourne Mint Museum formed an exceptional offering of uniformly high third-party graded coins, the like of which will not be repeated as holdings of this size and scope are now exclusively retained by institutions. Proof-record coins were always struck in tiny quantities and were intended for distribution to certain national collections for display and exhibition and for presentation to potential customers. Without exception, Proof-record coins are very rare and these lots were surplus sets from the Melbourne Mint Collection. They were originally offered for sale in two tranches in 1988 and 2009.

The highest price for one of these ex-Melbourne Mint lots at Dix Noonan Webb was £15,600 ($23,764 U.S), including buyer's fee, for a Greek Republic 1930 Proof set comprising 20, 10 and 5 drachmai which had been despatched from the Royal Mint in London to Melbourne in 1931. A 1929 Saudi Arabian Proof set consisting of riyal, half- and quarter-riyal, ghirsh, and half- and quarter-ghirsh sold for £12,000 (£10,000 hammer).

Another good performance came from a very rare Charles I Shrewsbury halfcrown dating from 1642. Depicting the Shrewsbury horseman, the coin, on a slightly irregular planchet as usual but otherwise in good very fine condition, was estimated at £6,000 to £8,000. It sold for £10,800 (£9,000 hammer price). 

Dix Noonan Webb Ltd. is one of the world’s leading specialist auctioneers and valuers of coins, tokens, medals, militaria and paper money of all types. Established in 1990, the company boasts over 250 years of combined experience in this field and stages regular auctions throughout the year. 

To learn about Dix Noonan Webb, visit its website.

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