Ancient Gold Coins

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Scottish & English Hammered Gold Coins:


WAu-6534:  Edward III Hammered Gold Full Noble.  Transitional Treaty Period issue, circa 1361 only, Spink 1499.  No crack, chips or any other issues other than a slightly rough edge.  Very nice grade – easily VF detail – being a rarer, single issue type and listed at £4,000 in Spink 2018.  Very few nobles from this Transitional Treaty Period enter the market place (London coins have only ever sold a single example).  Detailed old ticket images here.  North list this as Rare and they seldom go above scarce for nobles (E).  £3,150


WAu-6522:  Edward IV Hammered Gold Full Ryal or Rose-Noble.  An impressive hammered gold coin on a generous flan, weighing in at 7.49 grams.  The grade is a pleasing VF.  In certain light and looking through a lens – so not easy to spot – there are reverse areas of discolouration around the outer edge at 1, 3 and 10 o’clock indicating a possible ex mount.  I’ve tentatively attributed this to Spink 1952 but if it wasn’t for the generous flan and one or two other minor indicators (eg the flag), I’d be going with Spink 1950 as this coin has more in common with Spink 1950 than it does with Spink 1952.  The bowsprit dissecting EDWARD between the E and the D is highly unusual, as is the initial mark sun and crown mule – both indicators of Spink 1950.  However, when in doubt, even if it’s a slight doubt, always err on the commoner coin, which I reluctantly have.  Nevertheless, an interesting coin (E).  £2,450


WAu-6529:  Edward IV Medieval Hammered Gold Angel.  Second reign, initial mark Cinquefoil (1480-83) so very late in the reign.  5.00 grams.  There is dirt in the reverse bowsprit area – see camera phone image here.  Spink 2091 – London.  Sold with old auction tickets (E).  £1,995


WAu-6514:  1594 James VI Scottish Hammered Gold Rider.  Seventh issue, value 100 shillings.  Spink 5458.  The March 2018 Spink sale saw an identical date and similar grade coin achieve £4,750 after costs.  An iconic problem-free Scottish hammered gold coin from the late 1500’s (E).  £3,450 RESERVED




Scottish Gold Milled Coins:


WAu-6691:  1701 William II of Scotland Milled Gold Half Pistole.  A single year issue of this excessively rare Scottish gold coin which was current at £6 in Scotland.  Spink 5677.  Both the full and half pistole were struck from gold dust imported by the Darien Co. (The Scottish African Company) from the Central American colony of Darien.  The company asked that its crest, a sun rising from the sea, should be placed on the coinage as an acknowledgement to themselves and to the “Rising Sun”, the ship which had carried the gold.  That emblem is under William II’s bust.  The half pistole is rarer than the full pistole in terms of availability although find either for sale and you’re doing better than nearly everyone else. (E)  £2,950




English Gold Milled Coins:


Charles II


WAu-6624:  1678/7 Charles II Gold Half Guineas – a “Bender” Love Token.  The famous children’s nursery rhyme goes: "There was a crooked man who had a crooked cat... who found a crooked sixpence..."  The fad of the day was to bend a silver coin into this specific Z shape (you wouldn't think it but it's actually a mightily hard thing to do!) and present it to a potential partner in order, presumably, to impress them.  Nowadays we’d just offer to buy them a drink!!  In the above Nursery Rhyme, the old man found a crooked (ie Bender) sixpence.  The suitor who bent this particular coin for his sweetheart must have been very rich to have used a half guinea as it is usually silver sixpences that we see.  However, it looks like his wealth counted for nothing as a metal detectorist found this coin in a field, meaning the woman must have thrown it away in disgust all those years ago!!  Hard to photograph so a compilation image here.  £525 / £1,750 in Spink 2018.  Any decent jeweller could have this straighten out if that's what you wanted to do.  (E)  £445



James II


WCA-6694:  1685-88 James II Stuart Gold Touchpiece – guaranteed to have been touched by the king.  This was the official gold coin that the king (James II) personally gave to invited sufferers of Scrofula (TB) at special "Touching Ceremonies".  These ceremonies were performed weekly throughout the year, except on hot days.  The gold touch piece was designed by the famous John Roettier.  This is the first example of a James II gold touchpiece that I have ever seen.  This recent silver gilt on base metal touch piece caught my attention as it passed through a major auction house recently.  It gives an indication of just how collectable these things are.  Read THE SOVEREIGN REMEDY by Noel Woolf for further information.  (E) £1,675





WAu-6020:  Queen Anne Gold Touch Piece.  Guaranteed to have been touched by Queen Anne herself at an official Touching Ceremony to “cure” Scrofula (modern day Tubercularosis).  See THE SOVEREIGN REMEDY – Touch Pieces and the King’s Evil by NOEL WOOLF for further reading.  Sufferers of the disease were invited to attend by strict invitation only.  A pass was given which allowed entry although no Queen Anne passes have been recorded, leading to the assumption that either they were handwritten paper passes or the old Charles II passes were re-used.  The Queen personally gave every sufferer one of these gold touchpieces.  The theory was that the Queen touched the gold touchpiece and then personally gave it to the sufferer, so through her God also touched the sufferer.  Queen Anne is recorded as being the most reluctant Toucher out of all the monarchs, getting out of what she could.  The touchpieces were purposefully pierced, always in the same position, in order that sufferers could wear them around their necks, next to their skin.  The vast majority of these would have been melted down and the money spent on everyday living, if not by the sufferer, then surely by his or her descendants.  Recipients were not always commoners.  Queen Anne touched Dr Johnson (of the Dictionary fame) when he was 2 ½ on 30 March 1712.  His touchpiece, identical to this one, currently resides in the British Museum.  Dr Johnson’s touchpiece, like this one, also shows little or no sign of wear.  Unlike previous monarchs who physically touched the sufferers’ open sores and wounds, Queen Anne refused to do this, instead opting for a loadstone to do the touching.  She certainly touched the gold touchpieces though.  27th April 1714, three months before Anne died, was the last ever Touching Ceremony performed on British soil.  In total, the practice had been in existence for 50 years.  The Hanoverians (George 1st etc) would have none of it.  This is the first example of a James II gold touchpiece that I have ever seen.  This recent silver gilt on base metal touch piece caught my attention as it passed through a major auction house recently.  It gives an indication of just how collectable these things are.  This is a high grade example with a provenance going back to 1968 (x2 tickets and a printout).  This is the first I’ve owned and I don’t think I’ve even seen another outside of books and the BM.  (E)  £1,875




George III


WAu-5714:  1810 George III Gold Third Guinea.  Second bust (short hair).  No mount marks and EF grade.  Spink price is £625 (2018).  (E)  £459




Queen Victoria


WAu-5927:  1874 Queen Victoria Australian (Melbourne) Gold Sovereign.  Young head, uncleaned.  (E)  £350


WAu-6006:  1875 Queen Victoria Australian (Melbourne) Gold Sovereign.  Young head, very nice grade.  (E)  £375


WAu-6007:  1886 Queen Victoria Australian (Melbourne) Gold Sovereign.  Young head, very nice grade.  (E)  £375


WAu-5928:  1891 Queen Victoria Australian (Melbourne) Gold Sovereign.  Jubilee head, uncleaned.  (E)  £295