Huge collection of British ‘inaugural’ medals in London sale

Baldwin’s auctions Feldman collection of coronation, jubilee medals
By , Coin World
Published : 05/27/16
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The king appears on the obverse, with the Scottish thistle on the reverse. 

Medals in three metals

A study of George II medals reveals the varied price points possible for some medals marking the same coronation.

A gold 1727 coronation medal for George II realized £7,200 ($10,535 U.S.) and a silver medal notched £456 ($667). The copper version sold for £336 ($492).

The disparity between the prices for the gold and silver versions can be explained by mintage; the gold example has a mintage of 238 pieces, while the 800 silver examples made number more than three times the gold total. The silver and copper medals are much closer in price, and their mintage figures are also fairly close, with 1,000 copper examples made. 

John Croker designed the George II medals, which depict a large bust of the king on the obverse and Britannia crowning the king on the reverse. 

Famous coin designers

Benedetto Pistrucci, the Italian engraver enlisted to work at the Royal Mint following the 1817 death of Thomas Wyon, may be most well known for his St. George and the Dragon coin design. The famous design continues in production nearly 200 years after it debuted, in modern times appearing on the gold sovereign bullion coins.

Pistrucci’s work also includes the 1821 coronation medal for George IV.  The 1821 coronation medal shows a laureate bust of the king and the reverse features the coronation scene — images of allegorical Britannia, Hibernia and Scotia looking on as Victory crowns the new monarch. 

The medal, which is “as struck,” realized £6,000 ($8,779 U.S.).

The medal sold for a fraction of the price of a similar gold coin of the king that was commemorative in nature and not issued for circulation.

A Proof 64 Cameo 1826 gold £5 coin graded by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. realized $88,125, including the buyer’s fee, in Heritage Auctions’ Aug. 13, 2015, sale.

A Proof 61 NGC example of the same coin realized $36,425 in a Jan. 5, 2015, Heritage auction, still more than five times the price for the coronation medal. 

The differences in prices between coins and medals marking the same event is almost nonexistent when considering Queen Victoria’s 1887 Jubilee.

A gold medal graded Good Extremely Fine by the auction house realized £7,440 ($10,886). 

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