Most of the action in British coins is now found in auctions.
And auctions of better British coins now take place year round, a marked departure from a decade ago when the major action for British collectors was in London’s annual COINEX show.
British gold coin collectors with a taste for hammered and earlier milled coinage had their opportunity a year ago, on Aug. 13, 2013, during the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont, Ill.
That’s when Stack’s Bowers Galleries auctioned the Thos. H. Law Collection of gold coins. A highlight of that auction was a chance to buy examples of each of the four available types of Henry VII fine sovereigns (the fifth is a museum-only piece) with the exceptionally rare Type I coin selling for a total of $499, 375.
A unique silver Anglo-Saxon coin of Aethelberht II with his name and title spelled out went for more than $130,000 in an early June 2014 London sale at DNW.
In March 2014 Spink sold a pattern of Charles II, Thomas Simon’s Reddite (“Render…”) crown, the finest known example, for more than $600,000 (£330,00 plus commission).
Another example of the same issue, reputedly the second finest, was sold by St. James’s Auctions just over a year earlier for $150,000 (£80,000 plus commission).
That the finest known example could sell for four times the amount the second finest brought reflects the premium on quality that British buyers are currently willing to pay, a reality familiar to American collectors seeking only the finest possible.
The British market has been strong for several years, a reflection of increased interest in Britain in its own coinage, as well as the continued dedication of American collectors to the series.