The final part of a collection decades in the making has finally been sold.
Spink on May 14 auctioned the second half of the Slaney Collection,
which was off the market for more than 50 years before the first part
was auctioned in 2003.
The 2003 auction established mutiple record prices, and the 2015
sale was anticipated to have done the same
How special was the first part of the Slaney
The highlight of the 2015 offering was the 1820 George III gold £5
pattern, featuring a design by Benedetto Pistrucci. The coin, one of
25 examples made, realized £360,000 ($564,959 in U.S. funds),
including the 20 percent buyer’s fee.
The issue marked the debut of the £5 denomination.
Slaney bought the coin from a July 15, 1953, Glendining auction for £360.
Described as “Good Extremely Fine” by Spink, the coin had an
estimate of £100,000 to £120,000
Another highlight is the 1673 gold 5-guinea coin of Charles II,
which realized £162,000 ($254,231 U.S.), including the buyer’s fee,
against an estimate of £40,000 to £50,000.
The coin has robust, colorful toning and a provenance dating back to
1887, when H. Montagu purchased it. Besides being in the famed Montagu
Collection, the piece was once owned by J.G. Murdoch, whose collection
is also one of the most notable of the early 20th century.
The auction house noted that it has “a few light hairlines under a
remarkable deep rich red tone,” and is Extremely Fine “with lustrous
Two other highlights of note are among the famous issues of British coinage.
The 1644 silver £1 coin of Charles I, struck and issued at the
temporary Oxford Mint during the English Civil War, realized £144,000
($225,984 U.S.), including the buyer's fee. The coin, designed by
Thomas Rawlins, had an estimate of £60,000 to £80,000 and was graded
Nearly EF by the firm.
The whopping piece (it weighs 118.92 grams) was once part of the
Virgil Brand and Montagu collections. It was sold for £36 in Sotheby’s
1896 sale of the third part of the Montagu Collection, a large sum for
Charles I had retreated from London to Oxford and erected a mint
there. He needed money desperately to pay his troops fighting the
Parliamentary forces, resulting in these very large £1coins.
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.
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