When monarchs are involved, designing a coin can sometimes be tricky.
One example of this delicate balance between artistry and servitude
is an 1817 silver 3-guilder pattern, which sold Nov. 20 during
Schulman B.V.’s auction. The coin realized €36,000 (about $38,519
U.S.), including the 20 percent buyer’s fee. Only 12 pieces were made.
The coin is based on a design by French artist Auguste Francois Michaut.
In 1815, Michaut was appointed as medalist to the court by King
William I of Holland and in late 1816 he was commissioned to create
the king’s bust for 10-, 3- and half-guilder coins.
He sent his design for the 3-guilder coin, struck on a tin test
planchet on June 22, but the portrait was not well-received by the
minister to the king because it did not accurately resemble the king.
Connect with Coin World:
Michaut prepared a new design, with a larger head, after being
allowed to observe the king walk through Haarlem. A few pieces with
this design were struck on unadjusted planchets, according to Tim
Poelman, a representative of Schulman. (Unadjusted planchets had not
been modified to ensure a struck coin would have a proper weight.)
These pieces were struck on a screw press, which was not the normal
method of manufacture for the time.
Another group of patterns was made on Oct. 15, “with just one
rotating motion” on adjusted planchets, of the proper weight,
according to Poelman. However, the king’s hair was called “too wavy”
and Michaut’s lack of skill in hardening and polishing the dies
created hairlines in the pieces.
The example offered in the Nov. 20 auction is one of the Oct. 15
types, according to Poelman.