Ancient Gold Coins

-------->Remember, postage is included<--------




Scottish & English Hammered and Milled Gold Coins:



WAu-7553:  Henry IV Hammered Medieval Gold Noble.  Light Coinage of 1412 – 1413 only, London mint, Spink 1715.  Easter 1412 hailed a numismatic New Dawn – due to fiscally challenging times, gold and silver coinage was officially issued at a reduced weight.  We’re all so jaded with officialdom today that many might think this was no big deal but although there had previously been “tinkering” of weights (Edward III nobles down from 138 grains to 120 grains), this was the first official “Light Coinage” episode where the coin in your hand was not quite worth the amount it represented.  A few Henrys on and just over 100 years in the future, Henry VIII took this concept to a whole new level.  Some might even argue that reducing silver content by half and then ultimately taking silver out of coinage altogether in the early and mid 20th century was worse still.  However, in 1412 in was the first time and it was momentous.  This decision made, it would be an obvious move, you’d imagine, to increase the output of gold from the mint, thereby benefiting the exchequer.  However, there is no numismatic evidence suggesting that this actually happened; the main reason being that bullion was still very thin on the ground.  Another reason was the almost complete lack of skilled staff at every level in the mint due to extreme inactivity during the preceding years.  In September 1412, the warden at the mint was ordered to recruit moneyers and die-sinkers.  Bear in mind that Henry IV, who was very much a slave to ill health at this point anyway, died 20th March 1413 so we’re talking six months to basically start coin production from scratch and in an environment where bullion was in extremely short supply.  Coincraft states, “Collectors will have great difficulty in obtaining one (Henry IV noble)”.  Small edge metal loss at 3 o’clock, brought about by a contemporary planchet fault.  Exceedingly rare.  Ex Spink with their old ticket.  £5,795 RESERVED (S.H.18-10-22 Lay-Away)


WAu-7555:  Edward IV Hammered Medieval Gold Ryal or Rose Noble.  Light Coinage of 1464 – 1470 only, London mint, small fleurs in spandrels, initial mark Crown, Spink 1951.  This coin, issued in 1465, whilst unambiguously attractive in design, was a bit of a disaster.  It superseded the old Noble because this was now considered a clunky and old fashioned denomination at 6s. 8d.  The new Ryal or Rose Noble denomination was nice and user-friendly at 10 shillings.  However, it wasn’t.  The noble had been around for so long that 6s. 8d. had actually become the professionals’ standard fee.  Whilst these professionals wouldn’t have minded being the beneficiary of a not inconsequential pay rise virtually overnight, the people who employed these individuals were most certainly not up for that.  Thus the new 10 shilling Ryal or Rose Noble denomination was itself superseded just 5 years later by the gold Angel and everyone was happy because the Angel circulated at, wait for it, exactly the same as the old Noble - 6s. 8d, or at least it did until Henry VIII got involved when, somewhat counter-intuitively, it increased to 7s. 6d in his Second Coinage!  At virtually full weight and VF grade, this is a lovely example of an iconic English late Medieval hammered gold coin.  £6,850


WAu-7663:  Edward IV Medieval Hammered Gold Ryal or Rose-Noble.  First reign, light coinage, 1464-70.  The excessively rare Coventry mint – this mint was only operational for x72 days right at the start of the Light Coinage, which would account for the fact that I have never seen another in the flesh, ever, and have only seen one other for sale – see here.  Spink 1955.  Such a rare coin!  P.O.A. RESERVED (M.A.D. Lay-Away)


WAu-7311:  Henry VIII Hammered Gold Crown of the Double Rose.  Third coinage, initial mark none / WS monogram, 1544-47, Bristol mint.  Spink 2310.  Ex Spink (various tickets here).  Slightly wavy flan with minor edge splits.  A very popular coin and invariably a minimum of £5K in today’s market.  This one priced very competitively at £4,295


WAu-7617:  James 1st Hammered Gold Thistle Crown.  Second coinage, rarer initial mark overdate: obverse initial mark Cinquefoil (1613-15) over Trefoil (1613); reverse initial mark Cinquefoil (1613-15).  2.01g, 12h.  Spink 2628.  Purchased from Patrick Finn’s list # 14 (1998) and remaining in that collection until November 2022 – see tickets.  Very nice grade and excellent provenance.  £1,095 RESERVED (M.A.D. Lay-Away)


WAu-7665:  Scottish James VI Hammered Gold Unit or Sceptre Piece.  Tenth coinage, 1609-25.  Circulated at £12 in Scotland and £1 sterling.  Spink 5464.  Old auction slip here.  Very high.  Choice.  £5,850


WAu-7640:  1651 Commonwealth Hammered Gold Unite.  From the famous St. Albans Collection of English Gold Coins where this coin, as were all coins in the collection, it was slabbed by NGC as AU58. • THE COMMONWEALTH OF ENGLAND • English shield within palm and laurel wreath of fifteen leaves, rev. • 1651 • GOD • WITH • VS, conjoined shields of England and Ireland, • XX • above. Other images here and here.  8.97g, initial mark sun [obverse only].  Schneider II, 339; Tisbury -; EGC 10; North 2715; Spink 3208.  Traces of doubling in obverse legend, otherwise handsomely toned with enchanting reddish flare overlying lustrous original fields, die wear to high points, good very fine, the scarcer obverse variety as identified by Bull and with a famous pedigree.  Sold with NGC 'St Albans' Certification and graded AU58 (NGC #6295553-012)


1.  Spink: The "St Albans" Collection of English Gold Coins, December 2022, lot 12, hammer just under £14,000 after commissions.

2.  'A Distinguished Collection', purchased en bloc via Spink, August 2018

3.  Spink 211, 13 December 2011, lot 108 - "a neat round coin, lustrous, attractive, over a reddish tone, good very fine" - £8,000 (before commissions)

4.  Samuel King, Spink 173, 5 May 2005, lot 81 - "a neat round coin, with attractive golden lustre over a reddish tone, good very fine" - £4,200 (before commissions)

5.  SNC, July-August 1971, no. 7516* - well struck, choice, extremely fine - £250 (before commissions)

A stunning coin in both grade – being as good as full weight – and general appearance.  Those that know me will understand that I’m all about the coinage and the history behind it as opposed to investments, but I have to say that this coin, whilst clearly being very much the former, is also an excellent investment piece.  P.O.A. RESERVED (M.A.D. Lay-Away)


WAu-7191:  James II Gold Touch-Piece: Guaranteed to have been personally touched by King James II.  An ancient practice – that of The Devine (the monarchy was seen very much as a physical, tangible extension of God) healing sufferers of Scrofula (Tuberculosis) – dating as far back as Henry II.  All subsequent monarchs took some part in the ceremony (William & Mary refused because William was not of English royal decent) although Henry VIII was the most reluctant.  Interestingly, although somewhat disinclined due to an unwillingness to mingle with the common man, it was Henry who initiated the design of St George and the dragon on subsequent Touching Ceremony gold coins.  Although James’s brother, King Charles II, was an enthusiastic believer in the divine right of kings, James was actually more prolific in his touching, the number of sick being brought to him being as much as 14,364 in one year.  Clearly James II had an extremely short-lived reign, and it must be noted that for the first months of touching, he actually used the left over Charles II gold pieces – some 1,905 of them.  Again, the new touch-pieces were the work of John Roettier.  It is estimated that 1% of the London population suffered during this time), so James was never short of participants.  Interestingly, his ultimately toxic religious views seemed to have mattered very little to the average man in the street who was suffering from this extremely unpleasant disease – if James II could cure him, bring it on!  James II personally attended these ceremonies and physically handed the touch-piece to each and every sufferer.  Sufferers were invited and issued with an official Ticket-Pass to admit them to the ceremony.  You gave your Ticket-Pass in at the door, entered the ceremony, got touched by the king, received your gold coin from the king himself and hopefully left as a cured individual.  The Ticket-Token were collected and re-issued for the next Touching Ceremony.  James II touched no less than 12,000 a year during his short reign.  Touching Ceremonies were scheduled weekly, although never when the weather was warm.  Under Charles II, in 1684 the size of the gold touch-pieces were reduced and this was maintained under James.  The value of these pieces was some 5 shillings so very few would have survived the temptation of being spent as currency and thus quickly melted down upon numerous currency recalls, not least upon the death of monarchs.  Very rare indeed; more so due to the shortness of King James’s reign.  £1,850