Noble Numismatics Pty Ltd > Auction 130Auction date: 26 July 2022
Lot number: 458

Price realized: 2,800 AUD   (Approx. 1,948 USD / 1,923 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
Lot description:

Coastal Eight Hours Celebration Committee, (Western Australia), badge in voided silver and blue enamel (oval 38x30.5mm) (Not recorded in Emblems of Unity by Greg Smith), maker's impressed naming but difficult to read, pin-back. Extremely fine and rare.

The following report was published in the Westralian Worker (Perth, WA) on Friday 4 August 1911, page 7.

Coastal Labor Celebration.

Inaugural Meeting of Eight Hours Day Committee.

The inaugural meeting of the Coastal Eight Hours' Day Celebration Committee was held at the Trades Hall, Perth, on Saturday, July 20. The convener of the meeting, the secretary of the Metropolitan Council A.L.F., asked for nominations for chairman. Mr. W. Roche was unanimously appointed chairman for the meeting.

Delegates were present representing the following organisations: - West Guildford Superphosphate Workers, Mount Lyell Superphosphate Workers, Metropolitan Plasterers' Union, Fremantle Lumpers, Perth Tailors and Tailoresses, Operative Bootmakers, Iron Workers' Assistants, Tanners and Curriers, Timber Merchants, Fremantle A.S.E., Breadcarters, Bricklayers, Painters' Union, Midland Branch Amalgamated Railways, Fremantle Shop Assistants, Perth Shop Assistants, Dairymen's Employees, Typographical Union, Hodcarriers, Tally Clerks, Bookbinders, Carpenters, Brewery Employees, Saddlers, North Perth A.L.F., Balcatta A.L.F. (Women's), East Perth A.L.F., Perth A.S.E., Midland A.S.E., Coachbuilders, Australian Engineers, Moulders, Butchers, Fremantle Amalgamated Railways.

Apologies were tendered for Mr. D. Cameron and W. Counsel.


The following resolutions were adopted:-

That each organisation be allowed three delegates.

That the demonstration be held this year as usual on Eight Hours' Day.

That the sports be held at Claremont, provided the grounds can be obtained on suitable terms.

That the procession be held in Perth.

That the officers be appointed that night.

That the following officers be elected:-President, Mr. W. Roach; vice presidents, Messrs Mooney and Fabre; secretary, Mr. A. McCallum, at a salary of �30; treasurer, Mr. Burdett, at a salary of �5; management committee, Messrs. Graham, Croll, Kerr, Delahunty, Haynes, Chiles and Bromley; sports committee, Messrs. Croll, Crowley, Pericles, Stevens, Panton, Davis and Spruce; children's committee, Messrs. Hugo, Lowe, McGann, Richardson, Ellard, Moffatt, Graham, Mesdames Martin, Lewis, and Weir; dance committee, Messrs. Auld, McGregor and Star.

That the secretary write to the show ground authorities for the terms on which the ground can be obtained.

That next meeting be held in a fort-night at the Trades Hall, Fremantle.

Estimate: 360 AUD

Match 1:
Noble Numismatics Pty Ltd > Auction 130Auction date: 26 July 2022
Lot number: 459

Price realized: 100 AUD   (Approx. 70 USD / 69 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
Lot description:

Rockchoppers & Sewer Miners Union Of N.S.W., member badge, uniface in bronze (oval 28.5x19mm) (not recorded in Emblems of Unity by Greg Smith), pierced hole at two sides, impressed number in centre, '404'. Very fine and rare.

The Rockchoppers & Sewer Miners Union of N.S.W. was formed in 1908.

Estimate: 130 AUD

Match 2:
Noble Numismatics Pty Ltd > Auction 130Auction date: 26 July 2022
Lot number: 566

Price realized: 850 AUD   (Approx. 591 USD / 584 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
Lot description:

Chinese Comforts Fund, five pounds donation badge in sterling silver and enamel (22.5x205mm), by Amor, Sydney, pin-back, bottom obverse legend in Mandarin Chinese translates as, 'The war of resistance will be won and the founding of a nation will be achieved', on the reverse in relief is the amount of the donation, namely, '£5'. Very fine and very scarce.

The donation amount for this badge was quite high considering that the average weekly wage in 1944 was a little over £6 per week.

The following article was published in Barrier Daily Truth (Broken Hill, NSW) on Saturday 2 September 1944, page 3.


(To the Editor)

On the 7th July, 1944, China bravely marched into her eighth year of war of resistance against the Japanese invaders. For seven long years, China has suffered untold agonies never before experienced in her 5,000 years' history. For the last two and a half years she has been blockaded by sea and land and has had to fight with flesh and blood against fire and steel. Though terribly wounded physically, spiritually China has remained undaunted. Now, as victory is drawing nearer, the task of the final destruction of the enemy the greater part of whose armies is on China's soil, will mean that China's burden will become even heavier.

In compliance with an instruction from Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek that branches of the Chinese Comforts Fund be established in overseas countries, and with a desire to play their part to hasten victory, the Australian Division of the Chinese Comforts Fund was formed recently by the Chinese citizens, to work for the provision of comforts for the Chinese and Allied Fighting Forces operating in the Chinese theatre of war. In response to suggestions by a number of Australian friends, our Executive Committee is now extending the appeal to the Australian public.

It is fully realised that you are answering many similar requests, but China's cause and the efforts which her soldiers have made during their long resistance against a ruthless enemy are such that they will undoubtedly appeal to your generosity. Any assistance which you can render will be gratefully acknowledged. For Income Tax purposes, donations to this fund are allowable deductions for Companies and rebateable allowances for individuals.

I am sure that your readers will realise very clearly what the soldiers of China are doing in defence of Justice and freedom. - Yours, etc.

T. Y. LIN, President, Chinese Comforts Fund . (Australian Division), Box 4016, G.P.O., Sydney.

Estimate: 130 AUD

Match 3:
Classical Numismatic Group > Islamic Auction 2Auction date: 27 October 2022
Lot number: 82

Price realized: 575,000 USD   (Approx. 572,240 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
Lot description:

Umayyad Caliphate, Gold coinage. AV Dinar (19.5mm, 4.29 g, 5h). Ma'din Amir al-Mu'minin mint. Dated AH 93 (AD 711/2). Obverse margin: Muhammad rasul Allah arsulahu bi'l-huda wa din al-haqq li-yuzhirahu 'ala al-din kullihi
Obverse field: la ilaha illa / Allah wahdahu / la sharik lahu / Ma'din amir / al-mu'minin / Reverse margin: bismillah duriba hadha al-dinar sanat thalath wa tisa'in; pellet below b of duriba
Reverse field: Allah ahad Allah / al-samad lam yalid / wa lam yulad. Bernardi 47 (this date not recorded); cf. Morton & Eden 54 (23 April 2012), lot 34 (dated AH 89, same obverse die). Lustrous. Superb EF. Of the highest rarity, believed to be one of only two specimens known.

Of the greatest rarity, desirability, and historical significance, Umayyad dinars from the 'Mine of the Commander of the Faithful' occupy a unique place in Islamic numismatics.

Two types of these coins are known. The first issue, to which this coin belongs, was struck under the caliph al-Walid I (AH 86-96) and examples are now known for almost all years between AH 89-93. These dinars carry the legend Ma'din Amir al-Mu'minin, 'Mine of the Commander of the Faithful,' positioned in the fourth and fifth lines of the obverse field. The second type, issued by the caliph Hisham (AH 105-126), is attested for the year AH 105 only. These coins carry a longer inscription, Ma'din Amir al-Mu'minin bi'l-Hijaz; unlike the first type, this appears in the fourth and fifth lines of the reverse. The addition of bi'l-Hijaz gives these dinars the distinction of being the earliest coins, and quite possibly the earliest dated objects, which name a location in the present-day Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. However, while these special dinars were first recorded by numismatists more than a century ago, many aspects of their issue and significance have yet to be fully understood. The present coin, an excessively rare and beautifully-preserved example from a previously unpublished date, helps shed further light on the history and significance of this fascinating coinage.

Amir al-Mu'minin, 'Commander of the Faithful,' was the formal title used by the caliph. It was first adopted as such by 'Umar b. al-Khattab (AH 13-23) some fifty years before the term khalifa, 'successor', began to be used by 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwan (AH 65-86). Because Umayyad post-Reform gold and silver coins were anonymous, these 'Mine of the Commander of the Faithful' dinars are the earliest Islamic gold coins which preserve the caliph's ancient title. The title Amir al-Mu'minin does not otherwise appear on Islamic gold dinars until the caliphate of Harun al-Rashid (AH 170-193).

Ma'din means 'a mine.' As in English, the word can be used literally and metaphorically, but when seen on early Islamic coins it is used in its literal sense of a place from which natural resources are excavated. By way of example, there can be little doubt that Ma'din al-Shash and Ma'din Bajunays, which appear as mint-names on 'Abbasid dirhams struck in the late second century, mean 'the mine at Tashkent' and 'the mine at Bajunays' respectively, As well as denoting denote the place where these dirhams were struck, the addition of Ma'din also indicates the source of the silver used in their production.

Thus the literal meaning of Ma'din Amir al-Mu'minin, 'Mine of the Commander of the Faithful,' denotes a physical location: a mine belonging to the caliph. The first scholar to study these coins in detail, Paul Casanova, took this interpretation for granted, concluding that the gold used to strike them came from a mine which belonged to the caliph himself ('J'en ai conclu que l'or dont cette monnaie avait été frappée appartenait personnellement au Chef des Croyants'). Casanova identified this as the Ma'din Banu Sulaym, located between Medina and Mecca. This mine was recorded as having been purchased by the caliph 'Umar (AD 99-101) from the heirs of Bilal b. al-Harith, who had in turn been granted the mine by the Prophet himself. Casanova did not present any direct evidence that the Ma'din Banu Sulaym was ever known as the Ma'din Amir al-Mu'minin, but argued that it would be natural for the mine to acquire this name after being bought by 'Umar in AH 100 and, presumably, inherited by two further caliphs thereafter. But since Casanova's study was confined to the later dinars dated AH 105, which carry the additional phrase bi'l-Hijaz, his argument was convincing enough: the coins mentioned a mine in the Hijaz belonging to the caliph, and Casanova had successfully identified one.

More than fifty years after Casanova's study appeared, George Miles published a much shorter article describing a second Ma'din Amir al-Mu'minin dinar, this time dated AH 91 and without the additional bi'l-Hijaz. Except for the date, this coin is identical to the piece offered here. Drawing heavily on Casanova's work, Miles asserted that the phrase Ma'din Amir al-Mu'minin on this coin must also refer to the Ma'din Banu Sulaym, even though it lacks the phrase bi'l-Hijaz and was struck eight years before 'Umar became caliph acquired the mine in question. This is clearly problematic, and more recent scholarly thinking is clearly expressed in the words of Lutz Ilisch who, discussing a similar coin dated AH 92 in the Turath Collection, concluded that 'Whatever was meant by the term ma' seems clear that no relation to the Ma'din Bani Sulaym was meant by the inscription.'

However, Miles was on much surer ground when pointing out that the reverse die of his coin, dated AH 91, had also been used to strike ordinary dinars at the Damascus mint. He was also able to find an obverse die-link between the ANS's Ma'din Amir al-Mu'minin bi'l-Hijaz coin and a standard Damascus dinar dated AH 105. From this, Miles concluded that all Ma'din dinars were in fact struck at Damascus, and that the Ma'din legend denoted the source of the gold rather than the place of striking. While the currently accepted explanation is somewhat more complex, Miles was right about two important points: that the Ma'din dinars were either struck at Damascus or a satellite mint dependent on it, and that the Ma'din inscription does not signify a mint-in the conventional sense, as Casanova had assumed. Mint-names on Umayyad Post-reform gold and silver coins are, without exception, placed in the marginal legend before the date. But on the present coin we find that Ma'din Amir al-Mu'minin is positioned in the field rather than in the margin, and is even on the other side of the coin from the date legend. Taken together, the placement of the Ma'din legend and the die-link with Damascus dinars allow us to reject suggestions such as those of Samir Shamma, who argued that Ma'din Amir al-Mu'minin denoted an Umayyad gold mint situated at Medina in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Miles did not address the question of why these special dinars should only have been struck in certain years and in such small quantities. Lutz Ilisch, however, has noted that the Ma'din Amir al-Mu'minin dinars dated between AH 89 and 93 coincided with al-Walid embarking on a series of major building works in the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina. These included the reconstruction of the Mosque of the Prophet in Medina (AH 88-90). Al-Walid is recorded as having undertaken the Pilgrimage in AH 91, when he took the opportunity to inspect the building work. Al-Tabari records that the Caliph distributed gifts in Medina, which are described as including slaves, gold and silver vessels, and also money. It is clear from al-Tabari's account that al-Walid took a strong personal involvement in events in Mecca and Medina during these years; we hear of messengers travelling between the Holy Places and Damascus, governors and other officials being appointed and dismissed, and several reports of measures being taken to weed out elements in the region who were opposed to al-Walid's caliphate. Similarly, we find that the Ma'din Amir al-Mu'minin bi'l-Hijaz dinars dated AH 105 were struck when the new caliph Hisham visited the Holy Places immediately after his accession. In other words, it seems that these special Ma'din dinars were issued during periods when the caliph was particularly concerned with, and personally present in, the Holy Places. They were not issued at other times, even though we can only assume that the mine which 'Umar purchased in AH 100 must have yielded gold in other years than AH 105 alone.

Because the Ma'din Amir al-Mu'minin inscriptions denotes the source of the gold rather than the place of striking, the question of where these coins were physically manufactured remains uncertain. Miles, as we have seen, argued that the coins were struck at Damascus, and Album has pointed out that the high quality of their manufacture might also indicate that they were products of the main Umayyad gold mint. Lutz Ilisch, however, has proposed that they were in fact struck at an itinerant mint, dependent on and supplied by the main facility at Damascus, which could accompany the caliph on his travels when needed, and has stated that 'an origin from Medina in the Hijaz is generally accepted.' Some support for this view comes from the circumstances surrounding the strking of the Hijaz dinars dated AH 105. While we know that the dies used for these coins were prepared at Damascus, we know Hisham himself went straight to Arabia after his accession and did not enter Damascus as caliph until the following year. Thus these dinars at least were almost certainly struck at a travelling mint rather than the Umayyad capital.

The connection between the Ma'din Amir al-Mu'minin dinars and caliphal involvement with the Holy Places gives a possible answer to another question: if this inscription denotes the source of the gold, why was it felt necessary to mark this explicitly on the coins? Gold must have reached the Damascus mint from many sources, including mines, taxation, trade, tribute, and treasure captured in great military victories. Why did two small issues of dinars struck from gold excavated from a mine merit public recognition, while great military victories did not? The answer, we must assume, is that it was felt necessary to emphasise that these coins were struck from gold which belonged to the Caliph personally, and this was probably for symbolic rather than practical reasons. There may have been economic considerations behind identifying coins struck from the Caliph's personal resources, although we can only assume that other mine owners simply sold their gold or brought it to the mint to be coined, and it is not clear why the caliphs, who often had great personal wealth, should have been any different in this respect. But the symbolic value of special gold coins which were marked out as coming from the Caliph's personal wealth would have been considerable. We know from al-Tabari that al-Walid gave out gifts during his stay in Medina, and these will have come from his personal possessions rather than state funds. What could have been more appropriate than to present special gold dinars with the 'Mine of the Commander of the Faithful' inscription, imbued with greater significance by being marked as a personal gift?

If we accept that the Ma'din Amir al-Mu'minin dinars were struck for presentation and distribution by the Caliph himself, this would also explain why they were clearly only struck in very small numbers. The present coin exemplifies this point because its obverse die, which carries the special 'Mine of the Commander of the Faithful' legend, was evidently in use for at least five years. We have surviving coins paired with reverse dies dated AH 89, 91 and 92, and this newly-discovered dinar now allows us to extend this sequence further to AH 93. Being undated, there would have been no reason to stop using these special obverse dies until they were no longer serviceable. But it is exceptional for a die to survive for at least five years without breaking, and this strongly suggests that they were only used to strike very small quantities of dinars. Nor is this an isolated case: the other two known 'Mine of the Commander of the Faithful' obverse dies must also have remained in use for at least two years, since we have dinars dated AH 91 and 92 struck from each.

Intriguingly, therefore, the very ambiguity of the term Ma'din Amir al-Mu'minin, which has caused so much confusion to modern numismatists, might be deliberate and reflect an intentional double significance. On one level, 'Mine of the Commander of the Faithful' would have been an inscription which simply denoted the source of the gold from which the coins were made, and which was entirely consistent with the kind of practical information one might expect a coin to carry. But anyone who was given one of these coins by the caliph himself must surely have appreciated another level of meaning: that the coin was a personal gift from the caliph's own personal 'mine' - not only a physical location, but a metaphor for his personal resources. If so, these remarkable dinars are the earliest gold presentation coinage from the Islamic world.

Specialist Bibliography

Album, S. Sylloge of Islamic Coins in the Ashmolean. Volume 10. Arabia and East Africa, Oxford (1999).

Album, S. Checklist of Islamic Coins. Third Edition. Santa Rosa (2011).

Casanova, P. 'Une mine d'or au Hidjaz', Ministère de l'Instruction Publique at des Beaux-Arts (Comité des Travaux Historiques et Scientifiques), Bulletin de la Section de la Géographie, Tome XXXV (1920), pp. 69-125.

Ilisch, L., The Turath Collection. Leu Numismatics Ltd Auction 64, Zurich, 27 March 1996.

Miles, G.C. 'A unique Umayyad dinar of 91 H./A.D. 709-710,' Revue Numismatique, 6e Série, Tome 14 (1972), pp. 264-268.

Estimate: 750000 USD

Match 4:
Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC > Treasure Auction 32Auction date: 3 November 2022
Lot number: 1238

Price realized: 140,000 USD   (Approx. 143,486 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
Lot description:

USA, proof silver medal, Declaration of Independence (struck in the 1850s), by Charles Cushing Wright, unique in silver, NGC MS 62 [sic], ex-Bushnell, ex-Garrett, ex-Adams. Musante GW183; Baker (Rulau-Fuld) 53G. 91mm; 259.0 grams. NGC 6481717-001. Pedigreed to the John Adams Collection, with entire ownership pedigree dating back to Charles Ira Bushnell (Chapman auction of June 1882, lot 1274), Garrett Estate (Bowers & Ruddy auction of April 1981, lot 1910), Julian Leidman (Bowers & Merena auction of April 1986, lot 4126), and Charles A. Warton (Stack's Bowers auction of March 2014, lot 2077), subsequently purchased by Adams in the Stack's Bowers auction of August 2018 (lot 46). Estimate: $25,000-up.

Manmade beauty comes in many forms. As numismatists we discern artistic beauty in a handheld piece of history. The beauty of a coin or medal starts with its engraver; next its striking, which is critical as a bad strike can ruin a beautiful design. Finally, the toning of the metal, which takes many years to happen, is a process over which we have much less control. For some pieces, there is one final distinction, a coup de grâce known as pedigree, for only a piece that was held and admired by the greatest collectors can have such psychological beauty.

When this medal was designed and struck sometime in 1852 to 1854 by Charles Cushing Wright, only a bronze version was advertised, first published in Norton's Literary Letter in 1857. The first auction appearance of one of these bronzes (of which only two to four are known today), was in the Edward Cogan (Philadelphia) sale of March 25-26, 1862, from a collection billed as “The Property of a Private Gentleman [John K. Wiggan], Collected Without Regard to Expense,” lot 757, described as “extremely rare” (consider how many ten-year-old numismatic items today could be considered “extremely rare”). The next known auction offering of a bronze example was in June 20-24, 1882 (lot 1275), when the Chapman Brothers (Samuel Hudson Chapman and Henry Chapman, also in Philadelphia) handled the collection of the estate of Charles Ira Bushnell, the medal again described as “extremely rare,” but with a note that it was the same as the lot above it, lot 1274, in silver. That lot was the same silver piece you see now, with a brief description ending in “Silver. Proof. Unique in this metal.”

Why did they believe it was unique? The answer lies in the owner, Bushnell, who was a known patron of Wright’s work and presumably had it struck for himself as a specimen. It is inconceivable that the Chapmans would have made that assertion if Bushnell himself had not told them. Note it was also described as Proof by the Chapmans, another term that they would only state if true (a fact that was recognized by PCGS when this piece was graded as SP63 by that firm, its current designation of MS 62 by NGC a bit indefensible).

The design itself was not unique, however. Not only were there identical versions in bronze, as noted, but also its scene of the presentation of the draft of the Declaration of Independence to the Continental Congress on June 28, 1776 (based on the famous 1818 painting by John Trumbull that hangs in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol and graces the back of our $2 bill) was used by Wright to make other medals with the bust of George Washington on the other side. It is interesting to note that even as long ago as 1882 the Chapman Brothers erroneously described this scene as the signing of the Declaration of Independence, whereas in fact the image shows the five-man drafting committee (consisting of John Adams, Richard Sherman, Robert R. Livingston, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin) presenting their draft to a seated John Hancock. Each man pictured in the scene was a real person, 47 in all, of which 42 were actual signers of the Declaration (fourteen signers were not depicted, as Trumbull could not find accurate likenesses of them, the remaining five “extras” being luminaries who were present for the debates but not for the signing). The scene itself, however, is a fantasy, as these 47 men were never all in that room at the same time, “that room” being none other than Independence Hall in Philadelphia. It is amazing how well the painting lent itself to a medal format, the depth of perspective and finely detailed portraits faithfully rendered down to the last detail, even showing the right foot of the preternaturally tall Jefferson almost stepping on the comparatively short Adams’ left foot, once believed to have been symbolic of their legendary post-Independence rivalry. Above the scene is DECLARATION / OF and below is INDEPENDENCE and the date of the signing, July 4, 1776.

The other side of the medal bears a square tablet with a veritable curriculum vitae of the United States, listing eighteen events that led up to the momentous occasion of our Independence, as follows:


Scenes at top and bottom depict a small boat of Europeans landing at a rocky promontory guarded by an Indian (often described as Columbus’ landing in the New World, but that is doubtful considering the list of events) above, and a wharf scene with building, ships and lighthouse at bottom (perhaps Boston Harbor, but the design of the lighthouse is different). As with the other side, the artistry is par excellence.

Well designed and well struck, yes… but the third aesthetic factor is the icing on the cake: As a silver medal, this piece was subject to whatever mysterious chemical forces cause colorful toning on silver only, such that in the right light the surfaces positively radiate with a supernova burst of blue, green, purple and golden orange, all with underlying luster from proof-quality preparation. The wire rims are high, with just a small nick or two, and the struck details are thoroughly raised and devoid of weakness or wear. Much like the Liberty Bell, this gem bears a dignified flaw in the form of a meandering die-crack, from just right of the top to the middle on the reverse (considered a possible explanation for the extreme rarity of this issue), in addition to a small flaw or mark just to the right of the date 1643 and faint hairlines that any medal like this would have, all mere beauty spots on the alabaster countenance of a proper lady.

But as we said, there is one more quality that creates psychological beauty, a pride of ownership achieved by the desire to fight to own something so pleasing in artistry and preservation, namely its pedigree. Here we can trace this very same medal from its sponsoring first owner, Bushnell; thence to T. Harrison Garrett and his son, John Work Garrett, whose collection was sold by Bowers & Ruddy, this piece auctioned as lot 1910 in Part 4 (April 26, 1981); subsequently sold by Bowers & Merena as part of the Julian Leidman Collection on April 12, 1986 (lot 4126); next in the Charles A. Wharton Collection auctioned by Stack’s Bowers Galleries March 26-April 1, 2014 (lot 2077), where it was finally given the entire page it deserved; and finally the Stack’s Bowers auction of August 22, 2018, this time on the cover of the catalog and monopolizing two pages, as lot 46. The buyer in that auction was our own John Adams, in fact an indirect descendant of the John Adams who is shown “front and center” on this medal—what a fitting pedigree! But as any seasoned numismatist knows, it is not we humans but the items we collect that live on, and now this monumental opus will find a new home. Surely its next pedigree will be another name of collecting distinction.

Estimate: $25000 - $50000

Match 5:
Spink > Auction 22007Auction date: 18 October 2022
Lot number: 549

Price realized: Unsold
Lot description:

William III (1694-1702), 'Second Bust' Pattern Half-Guinea, 1696, struck in silver, in February or March 1696/7, Tower, by Henry Harris [?], GVLIELMVS • III • DEI • GRA, laureate bust 2 right, lock of hair across truncation, rev. MAG BR • FRA • ET • HIB • REX • 1696 • small crowned shields cruciform, emblem-adorned sceptres in angles, five strings to shapely harp, obliquely milled edge, 2.95g, 5h (cf. SCMB Sept. 1954, pp. 367 and COVER COIN; W&R -; Bull -), old scuff through the mouth and a tiny scratch to right of French shield, otherwise lightly toned, a pleasing very fine, the highest denomination extant for the short-lived 'Second Bust' of the Great Recoinage of 1696-97, not just in private hands but in institutions also, unknown prior to Rayner's discovery in 1954, UNIQUE, and of the greatest numismatic intrigue.
Baumhauer, Part 2, Sincona 75, 16 May 2022, lot 169
H E Manville, Spink 140, 16 November 1999, lot 616
Baldwin, by private treaty, May 1981
SCMB, September 1954, wherein illustrated on the cover:
, ,
, ,
By P. A. Rayner
, ,
There has been much controversy in the past concerning the coins of William III showing his portrait with the hair across the breast - the so-called second bust. Many numismatists believe them to be patterns, which, indeed, may be so in most cases.
There exist two distinct series of these pieces ; one with a broad head and thick curls, which I shall refer to as bust 2, and the other with a much narrower bust with very 'wiry' hair, and in higher relief, which I shall call bust 2a.
The coins with bust 2 consist of the following pieces:-
Crown, 1696 - National Collection (British Museum) : unique,
Shilling, 1696 - Lord Hamilton of Dalzell (Spink 3, 21 February 1979, lot ???; Private Collection,
Sixpence, 1696 - Extremely Rare [ESC, R5],
Sixpence, 1697 - Only Moderately Rare,
In addition to the above, there has recently come to light a pattern half-guinea in silver, dated 1696, with an undraped bust of similar style to the other coins of this series. We have this piece for sale.
The coins with bust 2a comprise the following :
Crown, 1696, National Collection (British Museum) : unique,
Halfcrown, 1696, Ditto (British Museum),
Sixpence, 1696, Ditto (British Museum),
There is also a punch and an obverse die for a half guinea in the Royal Mint Museum (cf. Hocking, pp. 15, no. 197a), which show a bust remarkably similar to the coins listed above : no coin is known from this die.,
Considering first the sixpences of this reign, this denomination being the commonest on which the second bust is found, some tentative suggestion regarding the sequence in which the various types were struck may be made, and thus it may be possible to date the second bust coins to within a month or so.
It should be remembered here that the old style calendar was in use at this time, and any coins struck up to March 25th would bear the date 1696.
Of the sixpences of this reign, the obverse and reverse types are listed below:
, ,
A - First Bust,
B - Second Bust [Bust 2],
C - Second Bust [Bust 2a],
D - Third Bust, ,
i - Large Crowns, early harp,
ii - Large Crowns, late harp,
iii - Small crowns, late harp, ,
The following combinations are found:,
1695 - A/i,
1696 - A/i [common] ; A/ii [rare] ; A/iii [very rare] ; B/iii [extremely rare] ; C/iii [unique],
1697 - A/iii [very common] ; A/ii [rare and only exists at provincial mints: Bristol, Chester and Exeter] ; B/iii [rare] ; D/ii [very common for Tower, scarce provincially] ; D/iii [common for Tower, rare provincially], ,
There also exists a 1696 Sixpence of York (Y) with obverse D and reverse i ; this is obviously a mule struck in 1697 when an old reverse die of 1696 was used in error.,
The comparative rarity of these types after A/i, based on the numbers which have passed through my hands, or are shown in my records over a period of some eight years, raises some interesting points. These figures are shown in parenthesis in the table of comparative rarity. Broadly speaking, the rarest types of 1696 are the commonest of 1697, for example, type A/iii is definitely rare dated 1696, but it is the most common first bust coin dated 1697.
, The figures for A/iii lead one to suppose that the reverse iii was prepared very late in 1696 O.S. It is significant that obverses B and C are found with this reverse only, therefore these obverses were also most probably prepared at the very close of 1696 O.S, possibly in February or March. Coins with bust 2a may well have been patterns for the issue of which coins with bust 2 constituted a tentative current coinage. Quite likely it was very soon decided to reject these latter also, and probably only a very few obverse dies were made - perhaps only one each for the Crown and Shilling.,
I have seen three different obverse dies for the sixpence dated 1697, one of which was the same as that for the 1696 coin in the Parsons collection, but possibly more exist. One would expect a greater number of dies than for larger denominations, as the sixpence was much more in demand.,
In 1697, these few obverses were probably used up, paired wth the type iii reverse, which was then in use at the Tower mint. It is most interesting to note that only reverse iii is known with the first bust obverse for this mint, dated 1697, and also that reverse ii, with large crowns, does not exist for Tower, and only occurs of the provincial mints Bristol, Chester and Exeter.
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In this context we may rememeber that James Roettier was barred from engraving coinage dies from February 2nd 1696/7, and that prior to this he had prepared five hundred pairs of dies in 1696 for the Provincial mints. The earliest coins of the 1696 were of the type A/i, and there exist also, rarely, type A/ii. I suggest these latter pieces, only known of the Tower and Bristol mints, were struck from dies prepared from punches intended for type A/i coins, but with the substitution of a late harp punch. These harps are a main feature of the coinage of 1697 generally, and this seems to indicate that these pieces also were produced very late in 1696. As will be seen from the rarity type, they are rare. The A/ii coins of 1697 which, as I have previously mentioned, only exist of three provincial mints, and then only rarely, I suggest formed the remainder of the 500 pairs of dies made in 1696 by Roettier, or, at any rate, from his punches, with the addition of the late harp, as in the case of the 1696 A/ii pieces mentioned above. When these type ii reverses became reduced in numbers through wear and they would of course wear out more rapidly than the type A obverses with which they were used, type iii reverses would be supplied from the Tower.
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This would explain the apparent substitution of reverses of types ii and iii in the provincial sixpences of 1697, and the relative rarity for this date of type A/ii as compared with type A/iii. The third bust coins must be a later issue than the first although they probably overlapped considerably.
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The half-guineas present an exactly similar pattern to the sixpences, except that only one bust, with or without Elephant and Castle was used for the current coins.
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The reverse types are as follows: -,
i) Large crowns, early harp,
ii) Large crowns, late harp,
iii) Small crowns, late harp,
These types occur as under:,
1696 - i,
1697 - iii,
1698-1701 - ii
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There is no overlap as in the case of the sixpences. It is interesting to note that all the 1697 pieces have a small crown, late harp reverses, as do the first bust Tower sixpences of this year. Here also we see a return to the large crown type, but in this case in 1698. As the unpublished second bust half-guinea in silver has a reverse iii, and is dated 1696, its position in the series must correspond to that of the 'bust 2' sixpence dated 1696, i.e. February of March 1696/7. The pattern bust 2a punch and obverse die in the Royal Mint were possibly also produced at approximately the same time, probably slightly earlier. Considering all the foregoing evidence it seems most probable that all these second bust coins were the work of Harris, or opne of his assistants, immediately following upon the disgrace of James Roettier in February 1696/7, and that these designs were abandoned in favour of Croker's third bust.
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Since Rayner's observations, Mauice Bull has conducted further study on the development of the harps in the gold specie of William III, and has conclusively shown the adoption of a more shapely 'late harp' for the 1697 Half-Guinea coinage. EGC 433 records this currency issue and corroborates the use of five strings, rather than three of four of the 1696-dated coinage, exactly as depicted on the Pattern Half-Guinea now offered. This would further indicate the likelihood of Rayner's date-range hypothesis about the production of the second bust Patterns and currency-strikings under the engravership of Henry Harris after 2 February 1696/7.

Estimate: £3000 - £5000