World Coins

Coins from banker's epic collection crossing block

A silver penny of Henry VI was struck from two dies not intended to be paired. The piece highlights the fourth part of the epic collection created by Lord Stewartby and being sold by Spink.

Coin images courtesy of Spink.

The fourth part of the epic collection created by Lord Stewartby is coming to auction in London on Nov. 29.

Spink will auction the selection, coins from the reigns of Edward III to Richard III, issued from the 14th to 16th centuries. 

Lord Stewartby was a banker by profession. From 1974 to 1992 he was a member of Parliament and held various offices in government. 

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In 2009, Spink published Stewartby’s masterpiece, English Coins 1180-1551, which intersects with this collection. An academic collection, it was built for the study of die varieties and mints. Its value is in education and completeness, not rarity. 

One “possibly unique” highlight, however, is a silver penny of Henry VI, who reigned from 1422 to 1461. The annulet issue (named for tiny rings connecting pellets in two quadrants on the coin’s reverse) is a “mule” from the London and Calais mints. A mule is coin resulting from an unin­tended pairing of dies. 

The coin could represent an interim period between the issues of Henry V and Henry VI. The mint at Calais was authorized six months before the death of Henry V. The mint’s early output appears to have been gold, but exactly when it started to coin silver is uncertain. 

This rarity combines one bust and shoulder style obverse of Henry V and a standard Henry VI initial cross and Calais penny reverse, and “as such adds further fuel to the debate on the divide between Henry V & VI and the annulet issues which appear to bridge the succession,” the firm said.

The coin is graded Fine by the auction company, and has an estimate of £80 to £100 ($98 to $123 U.S.).

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