World Coins

Complete run of English monarchs highlights auction

“It all started with animals and harps.”

That’s how collector Jim Farr, a biologist and a musician, explains how he became interested in British coins in the 1970s. Now his collection of the British Isles highlights the latest auction from Davissons Ltd. The sale, the firm’s 31st, closes Nov. 28.

The Farr Collection features more than 100 lots of British coins representing all the British series from Celtic to modern times. Between Farr’s offerings and other additional items, the auction represents all the English monarchs from the Norman Conquest in 1066 to the present. The completeness of the offering of monarchs is “the heart of the sale,” according to the firm.

“Tracing English history through coinage is a popular approach to the series and this auction covers [most of the monarchs], including such challenges in the series as the ‘2-3-4-5’ coins, issues of William II, Richard III, Henry IV and Edward V,” according to the firm.

The coins of those four monarchs are the hardest for collectors and dealers to find in the period covered from the time of the Norman Conquest on, Allan Davisson said.

A circa 1483 to 1485 silver groat represents Richard III. The London Mint issue is graded Very Fine and toned, and bears full legends. It has an estimate of $3,500.

Scottish, Irish and Anglo-Gallic coins complete the United Kingdom section. For a variety of reasons, medieval Irish and Anglo-Gallic coinage is scarcer and of lower quality than the Scottish and English issues. The Irish section presents a broad sample from Viking era Hiberno Norse coinage down through the Civil War and the emergency issues under Charles I and James II.

A highlight of the Anglo-Saxon coinage is an “exceedingly rare” circa 858 to 864 silver penny of Aethelberht, a King of Wessex. His coins are seldom offered, according to Allan and Marnie Davisson, and the silver penny “is one of the most important coins in the sale.”

The 1.22-gram coin measuring 20 millimeters in diameter was struck at the Caentwarabyrig (Canterbury) Mint by the moneyer identified as Beagmund. In Choice Extremely Fine and “fully struck with exquisite toning,” it has an estimate of $10,000.

Ancient Greek and Roman coins are part of the auction as well, including some artistic large Greek silver issues, but the highlight of the Greek section is a group of 61 high quality coins from the important BCD Collection of coins of the Peloponnesos. Many of the 61 pieces are important and very rare.

“The dispersal of the BCD collection of Greek coins over the past decade has given collectors a chance to represent places and types that have been particularly elusive in the past, and will be again as the market place absorbs them,” according to the firm.

The gold section in the auction includes Greek, British, Anglo-Gallic, and some gold coins from India.

The auction ends with a run of “high quality Conder tokens formed by a collector with an eye to condition and an active interest in Scottish issues,” the firm announced.

Copies of the full-color printed catalog are available without charge from Davissons Ltd., Box 323, Cold Spring, MN 56320. Email the firm at The sale is posted on the company website, ¦

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