A specialized collection of English silver groats will be offered
at auction Oct. 6 in London.
Spink is auctioning the Frank Brady Collection of English Hammered
Groats, a collection created during more than 30 years by Brady, a surgeon.
Brady first became interested in coin collecting while working as
an associate professor at the University of California Los Angeles
during the late 1970s.
He soon developed the goal of building a collection of “Good”
grade English hammered groats, and “building up the collection has
given Frank much pleasure,” according to the catalog.
The English groat (or fourpence coin) traces its history back to
1279 when it was introduced during a coinage reform of Edward I as an
alternative to the silver penny. After the public exhibited some
resistance to the fourpence because its weight was less than four of
the pre-reform pennies, the denomination was shelved from 1280 to 1351
when it was revived. It was issued for regular circulation through
1662, and since then has only made limited, specific appearances, such
as in Maundy sets and in certain British colonial usage.
“Groats gradually ceased to circulate generally except for a
revival in the mid 19th century,” writes Peter Woodhead, in an essay
preceding the lot listings in the catalog.
A highlight of the 387 lots (which are cataloged in a 128-page
catalog) is the circa 1494 coin or medallic jeton of Perkin Warbeck, a
pretender to the British throne during the reign of King Henry VII. It
imitates the style of the groats then in circulation.
The silver coin weighs 3.77 grams and is a remnant of the ruse
perpetrated by Warbeck, who passed himself off as Richard, Duke of
York, following the disappearance of Edward IV’s sons and the death of
Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth. Failing support, “Warbeck gave
himself up at Sheen and confessed all. He was subsequently tried and
hanged on 29 November 1499,” according to the catalog.
The coin has a provenance dating back to the Sir John Evans
Collection, which was purchased by Spink circa 1908. The coin is
graded in Good Very Fine condition and has an estimate of £3,000 to
£4,000 (about $4,702 to $6,269 in U.S. funds).
The complete catalog may be viewed or downloaded as a PDF from a
link at the firm’s website, www.spink.com/auctions/pdf/11039.pdf.
The lots also may be browsed online by accessing the auction through
For more information about the auction, telephone the firm at
(011) 44 20 7563 4080 or email it at firstname.lastname@example.org. ■