Second part of Slaney Collection features multiple English coin rarities

Collection was built by mysterious collector decades ago
By , Coin World
Published : 05/26/15
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The obverse shows the king on horseback trampling arms and armor beneath him, and the reverse depicts the famous declaration cartouche that symbolizes the issues behind the English Civil War. The king protested that he was defending the liberties and the true religion of the country, and acting in the name of liberty in Parliament. Of course, these assertions directly contradict his enemies, making this coin a fantastic piece of propaganda. 

The other famed rarity is the 1839 Una and the Lion gold £5 pattern of Queen Victoria.

The coin shows Una from Spencer’s Faery Queen as Queen Victoria with crown and sceptre, leading the lion (representing Britain), who is tamed by her beauty and purity. It was a radical idea to represent the monarch as a fairy-tale character on the country’s coinage, so it remained a pattern piece and the George and the Dragon design was used instead.

Graded EF by the firm, the coin realized £132,000 ($207,152 U.S.), including the fee, compared to the estimate of £40,000 to £50,000.

Spink sold the first half of the Slaney Collection in May 2003. Reporting for Coin World, London correspondent John Andrew wrote at the time that the auction was the moment that “exceptional English coins entered a new watershed of prices.”

“Collectors have never seen so many auction records broken at an auction devoted to English material. ... This will be remembered as one of the finest sales of English coins for many years,” he wrote. 

"Very little is known of the man who formed the collection. He was an extremely private individual. Not only did he never attend an auction, he never attended the offices of any of the London dealers with whom he dealt."

Andrew added about the 2003 auction: "The Slaney Collection is an English type collection embracing specimens from Tudor England right through to the 20th century. A collector who only wanted the very best examples formed it in the 1940s and 1950s. This was a period when some of the finest collections formed in the first half of the 20th century were being dispersed. Slaney had the pick of the best and money appeared to be no object.

"The collection is noted for its quality, regardless of rarity and price, and many pieces in the collection have impressive provenances going back into the 19th century."

To learn more about the 2015 auction, visit the auction house’s website.

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