Spink > Auction CSS86BAuction date: 7 January 2023
Lot number: 1280

Price realized: 12,000 HKD   (Approx. 1,537 USD / 1,461 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
Lot description:

Asia (Burma, Thailand, Cambodia), a group of pre 10th century coinage, mostly made from tin and clay including Khmer Kingdom (Angkor), Kingdom of Hamsavati, Pyu kingdom, also a group of clay molds, an interesting group showcasing early Asia coinage, with little duplicates and with some popular types. Generally very fine. Viewing recommended or better (70).

Estimate: 4000 - 7000

Match 1:
Spink > Auction 23104Auction date: 31 March 2023
Lot number: 712

Price realized: 85,000 GBP   (Approx. 105,224 USD / 96,427 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
Lot description:

NGC MS63 | *Top Pop* | Anne (1702-1714), "Swift's Petition for the British Copper Coinage to the Lord High Treasurer, Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford", A Medallic Gold Pattern for a Farthing, 1713, Commemorating the Historic Act of Union of England and Scotland, an extraordinary personal striking after John Croker and Sir Isaac Newton at the Royal Mint, c. 1738, before Arundell's confiscation and destruction of the dies at the Tower of London, ANNA • DEI • GRATIA • draped bust 'A' three-quarters left, with beaded hair, toothed border and linear circle, rev. en médaille, BRITANNIA • 1713 • The Queen personified as Britannia seated left on Globe, wearing loose drapery, holding oval shield inscribed with Cross of St. George and St. Andrew, spear resting beside, olive branch in right hand, double exergual line below, thicker inner line touching tops of legend, edge plain on a thin flan, 5.95g [92.0grns // 3 dwt 20 grns], 23.7mm., 12h (Snelling [1766], Pl. 8, no. 5; Tyssen [1802], 2743; Ruding [1817] -; Till [1837], no. 3; H W Henfrey, type E; Montagu 11 [Fourth Portion, lot 148] = Murdoch 884 = Huth 586 = Brigg = Hewitt 391 this coin; Peck [BNJ, 1958], Group 3, O4*/Rb, no. 22a; Peck 22 = BMC 751 this coin mentioned [cf. Pl. 16, J]; BM 1935.0401.8229 same obverse die; W&R 61 this coin), faint traces of doubling in legends highly reminiscent of Royal Mint Pattern Strikings for contemporary Hanoverian gold specie and the Cromwellian Half-Broads restruck by J S Tanner in 1738; nevertheless with faint cabinet friction and inconsequential marks to rim, otherwise splendidly lustrous with brilliance across gloriously original fields, a truly sublime auriferous canon by the celebrated 18th Century medallist John Croker, conceived by him at the behest of Jonathan Swift at the apogee of national patriotic fervour following the historic Act of Union of England and Scotland and Peace of Utrecht, all whilst the Royal Mint was under the Mastership of its most famous comptroller Sir Isaac Newton; an indisputably storied British numismatic rarity and much-like Thomas Simon's famous 1663 'Petition Crown' - prized from inception by connoisseurs and 'Ruding's vulgar collector' alike; resulting in at least one prison sentence! Of the highest rarity, especially in this metal with only two specimens known; the other permanently impounded in the British Museum collection. With a matchless pedigree and the indisputable 'Queen of Rarities' within this historically-lauded and prohibitively exclusive four-coin series; now returning to public auction for the first time in over 50 years; and thus an unprecedented opportunity for the metaverse-refined, globally-astute but still privately-minded cognoscente of today, in NGC 'St Helier' holder, righteously graded MS63 (Cert. #6769435-005).
The St. Helier Collection of English Gold Coins,
'A highly important collection of Patterns struck in Gold', Glendining, 13 April 1972, lot 391 - a pièce de plaisir, struck from somewhat rusty dies but brilliant proof surface, extremely rare - £620 [Spink for St. Helier],
Capt Vivian Hewitt, collection purchased en bloc by Spink, 1967,
M A Brigg [a.k.a. 'North Country Collector'], portion of collection purchased by Baldwin, by 1943,
R Huth, First Portion, Sotheby's, 4-7 April 1927, lot 586 - brilliant and very rare in gold - £29.0.0 [Seaby for Brigg],
J G Murdoch, Second Portion, Sotheby's, 8-13 June 1903, lot 883 - "a beautiful impression, very rare" [Pl. XIV] - £12.5.0 [Spink for Huth],
Montagu, Fourth Portion, Sotheby's, 15-17 July 1897, lot 148 - "Pattern Farthing, 1713, struck in gold, ANNA. DEI. GRATIA., draped bust of the Queen to left, wearing pearl fillet in hair, similar to bust on Pattern Halfpenny, rev. BRITANNIA 1713 (date in legend), Queen with attributes of Britannia seated to left, broad border on either side (11), extremely fine and rare - £15.0.0 [Spink for Murdoch]
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"The Lord Treasurer quarrelled with me at Court for being four days without dining with him; so I dined there to-day, and he has at last fallen in with my project (as he calls it) of coining halfpence and farthings, with devices, like medals, in honour of the Queen, every year changing the device. I wish it may be done." Jonathan Swift, Letter LVIII to Mrs Rebecca Dingley, London, 4 January 1712/13, ,
Queen Anne's accession on 8 March 1702 witnessed a glut of copper coinage in the London economy, and guaranteed an almost permanent ban on the striking of new specie during her rule. This embargo was overseen by the new Master of the Mint, Isaac Newton, whose renown had grown ever since the publication of his 'Principia' on the three laws of motion in 1687. However his appointment as Warden to the Royal Mint came through his separate experimentation with alchemy, a skill that proved useful during the Great Recoinage in 1696. His tight comptrollership of the specific tolerances of each coin has forever after resulted in a contemporary specie marred by planchet adjustment marks - Newton's numismatic legacy was in effect a challenge to collectors to find a uniformly struck-up Williamite coin!
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His elevation to Master on 25 December 1699 following the death of Thomas Neale saw him inherit an unassailable problem with the assaying of pure copper. Thus far the technology had proven beyond the horse-drawn capabilities of the 17th Century mint who could neither roll, nor properly test the blanks they could even produce. Therefore since April 1694, 700 tonnes of pre-made blanks were provided by Sir Joseph Herne, Sir Francis Parry, George Clark, Abel Slaney and Daniel Barton. In 1698, a petition by the merchants of Southwark bemoaned the abuses of these patentees for their evident production of base copper coin, and worse still, their flooding of the London market. This precipitated a one-year hiatus on further production from 24 June 1698. By final lapse of the contract in 1701, an extraordinary £137,200 of this copper coin had been struck, more than sufficient for the next decade of service to the British economy.
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By 1712, however, the clamour for small specie had returned, and with it several petitions. The first published by Beardwell of Blackfriars in 1710, re-championed the cause of tin money in a circulated printed address: 'A humble and Seasonable Proposal to the Queen to raise Money without any Tax sufficient to rebuild her Royal Palace of White-Hall in Greater Magnificence than ever'. The imagined dialogue between an out-of-work coin-engineer; a shopkeeper; a market woman and a beggar extolled the virtues of a return to a 'small farthing, light and clean as silver that cannot be counterfeited without loss and immediate discovery.' Fanciful and unrealistic as that claim may have been at the time, these accounts are phenomenally enlightening. We hear of the Shopkeeper's son 'once being employed at Somers Key to make the Tin Farthings of King James that were cryed down as Popish imitations for being too heavy', which comes in sharp contrast to the fearful market woman who when asked 'pray let me see your farthings', is horrified to discover from the coin-engineer and shopkeeper that most of her money, which are actually halfpennies, are 'dull, nasty thick counterfeits'. But as the coin-engineer mourns, 'there is such a number of foul cast Half-pence that in 40 shillings, you must take 20 shillings in those Half-pence, or else you can receive no money.' The coin engineer then regails us of his past work at mints in Holland and France before employment at the Tower which eventually took him with James' army to Ireland following the Glorious Revolution in 1688. His evident adeptness with the edging technology (castaing machines) to prevent counterfeiting reveals his insider knowledge of William III's unfulfilled plans for a new tin coinage after 1695. This forms the basis for his appeal to Queen Anne in 1710, for which he produces the evidence of the market woman, who is 'forced to take Farthings about me, but are so heavy they tear out my pockets on the way home and [en]cumber me badly.' When pressed on whether the petition would be successful for the poorest, the engineer proposed: "Suppose the Queen should cause small Farthings as fine as silver to be coined, do you think they would then carry those?", the beggar chimes in: "O God bless Her Majesty, I think they would and she could not do a Greater Charity to the Poor, and all small Dealers, for then every body would carry more plenty of them in their Pockets."
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The appeal however would ultimately fall on deaf ears, for Newton, since knighted for services to his Parliamentary constituency of the University of Cambridge in 1705, was pre-occupied only with a small coinage in copper that but for its seignorage, would have the intrinsic metal value equivalent to face. His incorrigible stance, driven by an ambition to reduce Mint production costs ultimately overlooked the essential need for tin-alloy in the specie to ensure the efficiency of the Mint's aged rolling mills. The few trials Newton did muster would all fail the only available test available 'by the hammer', a limited technology that would still be in use at the conversion to bronze coinage in 1860. Landing the ignominy of a failed Pyx in 1710 (later overturned on appeal), would suffer a similar fate with his few copper trials at the hands of copper-smith James Bertie. Denounced as 'coarse copper', the prepared planchets ultimately cracked under striking pressure leaving the wide-spread production of copper specie for Queen Anne all but abandoned. In April 1717, Newton finally relented and purchased new copper blanks for the production of George I's first 'dump issue' copper specie.
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"I can calculate the movement of the celestial bodies, but not the madness of men" Newton famously quipped, and much like the South Sea Bubble that cost him some £20,000 in 1720, the coining of copper Farthings and Halfpennies would equally overwhelm him. However as Peck notes in his article for the BNJ, it is evident that at least some of the corpus of Halfpennies and Farthings survive from his own experiments. 'Termed Group 1 and 2', they comprise the double-headed issues and those showing signs of rust, but are clearly distinct from the Group 3 issues with new letter puncheons which are presumed to be the strikings cause by Mr Charles Bush of the Ordnance Office of the Tower of London after he obtained the 'dies for the Halfpenny' and caused some to be struck off before they were confiscated and destroyed by warrant of then Master of the Mint, Richard Arundell (1737-1745). As Peck notes, mysteriously few examples of the Halfpenny survive that can be so clearly attributed as 'restrikes', particularly as off-metal issues, although the clumsy repurposing of Halfcrown edge lettering with the regnal year 'DVODECIMO' opens the tantalising possibility that some may have been struck during the twelfth year of King George II (i.e. 1739), if not that of Queen Anne (1713).
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The first mention of a copper coinage in the numismatic review of Queen Anne's reign comes from the observations of Stephen Martin Leake in his seminal publication: 'Nummi Britannici Historia: An Historical Account of the English Money', (W. Meadows, London, 1726, pp. 142): "There was likewise Half-pence and Farthings of two different kinds, struck Anno 1713, and 1714 of fine Copper, but there were so very few of these coin'd, that they are preserved as great rarities; on one side is represented her Majesty's Head, ANNA. DEI. GRATIA. on the Reverse Britannia, circumscribed BRITANNIA. 1713, the other of 1714 has the Date under Britannia." [sic]
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This quite innocent notation about 'great rarities' would inadvertently give rise to an extraordinary folklore surrounding the issue that would endure nationwide for more than two centuries and constantly plague the numismatic discourse amongst servants of the Department of Coins and Medals at the British Museum. Such mythology would not be so readily accepted by another contemporary Richard Dodsley, however:
"So modern a Thing as a Queen Anne's Farthing has risen to the Dignity of a Curiosity, merely because there were but a few of them struck. Some industrious Artists, who would have the greatest Scruple of counterfeiting the current Coin of the Kingdom, have been so blinded by their Love of Virtu, as to imitate these rare Farthings, looking upon them solely as Curiosities. I just mention this for the Sake of those laborious Medallists; because the present Honourable Attorney-General, tho' a very Learned Man, is no Antiquarian, and might possibly be of the Opinion, that those admirable Copies would come under the Penalties of the Statute against Clipping and Coining.' The Museum or the Literary and Historical Register, Volume the First (London, 1746, pp. 47-48) [sic]
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Dodsley's input came after the first public auction appearance of Queen Anne's Farthing at the dispersal of Leonard Wooddeson's cabinet, late member of the Board of Works, by Aaron Lambe in Pall Mall on 20 March 1733/34 [lots 34 and 90]. Intriguingly the second listing herein described her Farthing as being 'made of lead'. White metal or more correctly tin specie had of course been phased out by Act of Parliament on 17 April 1694 during the co-reign of her predecessors. Whilst examples of this coinage have been recorded as patterns 'struck in tin' (Archbishop Sharp, 1977, lot 274), it is tantalising to think that Dodsley's greatest fear may have been true inside two decades of the original production.
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It is possible that Snelling's mention of Mr Bush's possession of the Halfpenny dies also extended to Farthing matrices, for the prevalence of restrikes in Gold and Silver extends across three Patterns for 1713, and one of 1714 and on multiple weight standards. Whilst the Halfpenny was conceived as an alleviation to the problem of 'weighty small change', a renewed farthing production would also serve an important purpose in the rumbling political debate about how best to commemorate Queen Anne's reign and her notable victories over the Spanish and French. Jonathan's Swift diverse petition championed these designs, as well as those heralding the Act of Union of England and Scotland in 1707, in his treatise to the 1st Earl of Oxford. Intriguingly it is also the Oxford family collection that affords us the earliest mention of a Queen Anne Farthing struck in gold and probably also the necessary 'smoking gun' to corroborate large swathes of Peck's hypothesis. , ,
At the sale of the 2nd Earl's collection in Christopher Cock's salerooms (18-23 March 1741/42), an example of 'Her Farthing, struck in Gold of weight 6 dwt 4 grns' featured as lot 172. Harley's personal assent to the coinage perhaps resulted in this memento being struck by Newton. However the date of sale does not entirely eradicate the possibility of this actually being a later restriking; especially as the youngest coin in the Oxford cabinet was a 1739 Halfcrown. Another early beneficiary of these exclusive gold Pattern strikings was the Honourable Bryan Fairfax, whose sale in 1751 included a further example of 'a pattern of her farthing, 1713 - 4dwt 2grns' curiously lotted alongside 'a ten shilling piece of Oliver - 3dwt 0grns'. It is inferred from this bizarre lotting practice, that Queen Anne's coin was actually conceived at the Royal Mint at the same time as the famous Tanner re-strikings of the Cromwellian Half-Broad. The dies for this latter coin, created from Simon's original puncheons, had been ordered in 1738 by Richard Arundell, then Master, for the purposes of 'gifts for his friends'. The penalty for illicit possession of dies under the 1696 Recoinage Act was high treason for Charles Bush. Arundell personally overseeing the production of such restrikings, including that in the cabinet of the Lord Chancellor's son is a far more conceivable notion. At Dr Richard Meade's dispersal in 1755, another remarkable 1713 Pattern appeared for the first time; the 'PAX MISSA PER ORBEM' issue, struck to commemorate the Peace of Utrecht. Traditionally referred to as one of the four Pattern Farthing designs, Matthew Prior's letter to Viscount Bolingbroke in May 1713 actually confirms this to be his own personal contest to the official 'Treaty of Utrecht' medal by John Croker, simply struck on a Farthing planchet but a heavier weight standard. By great fortune, an example of this in gold has also resurfaced in recent times, firstly at a public auction in Queensland (IAG Signature 96, 22-23 October 2022, lot 404 - AU$52,000); before returning to London with a favourable third-party grade and an optimistic six-figure re-sale estimate., ,
The most enduring mythology about the Queen Anne Farthing in the centuries since these seminal sales has been the extraordinary idea 'only three coins were produced before the die irreparably broke.' So infectious was this folklore, that it would be presented as incontestable evidence in a court of law; prompt a nationwide frenzy; and create widespread disappointment amongst beneficiaries left worthless heirlooms that had been preposterously overvalued. However like with the scoliotic discovery in King Richard III's spine, there appears to be a large grain of truth to this propagated falsehood. Whilst the surviving count of Queen Anne Farthings extends into three figures across all metals (gold, silver, copper, brass, tin and lead), the present corpus for gold strikings stands at just twelve known coins, of which at least half are impounded in National Institutions (British Museum = 5; Hunterian Museum = 1), with the remaining six largely untraced since the Hewitt dispersal (1972), that is of course until the re-emergence of the present example today. In the extensive, but perhaps not entirely exhaustive studies of Charles Wilson Peck, only two examples of the present type or 'first issue' have ever been recorded. The other specimen has been impounded in the British Museum since the Samuel Tyssen sale (April 1802, lot 2743). The remaining varieties have either three, if not four specimens extant. In any respect, the present coin is therefore not just unique to commerce, but also the rarest of the already prohibitively exclusive Queen Anne Pattern Farthing series in gold., ,
To date, only five individuals have ever achieved the monumental feat of owning all 'four types' of Queen Anne's Farthing in Gold:
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Samuel Tyssen (1802)
John Gloag Murdoch (1903)
Reginald Huth (1927)
M A Brigg (1943)*
Captain Vivian Hewitt (1967)
*Although public sale records do not corroborate Brigg's claim, we have it on the good authority of Charles Wilson Peck.
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Incredibly Hyman Montagu, the legendary 19th Century collector and author of 'The Copper, Tin, and Bronze Coinage of England' failed in the task. With the opportunity of two varieties appearing at auction in the same month for the first time in over half-a-century, it is beholden upon the nerves of today's connoisseur to rise to this immense challenge, particularly as this offering sits at the very top of the rarity tree.

Estimate: £20000 - £30000

Match 2:
Spink > Auction 23004Auction date: 3 April 2023
Lot number: 404

Price realized: 6,500 GBP   (Approx. 8,037 USD / 7,394 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
Lot description:

Eadgar, King of the Mercians (957-959), latterly, King of All England (1 October 959 - 8 July 975), Round Halfpenny, struck October 959 - 963 [?], Winchester, + EADGAR • REX, small cross pattée, rev. VV-IN divided by outfacing long crosses, evenly spaced pellet in each angle and at centre, 0.52g [8.4grns], 10h (Biddle & Harvey, The Winchester Mint and Coins and Related Finds from the Excavations of 1966-71, [2012], pp. 94, "possibly a misread coin of Eadwig" and Corpus no. 32D [Rect; cf. EMC 1991.0256; cf. EMC 2006.0203 [Eadwig]; CTCE -; North 754; Spink 1140C), minor edge loss between 12 and 2 o'clock, and a truly inconsequential flan furl between 10 and 12 o'clock, otherwise of excellent metal; of simplistic style yet talented and competent engravership, and beautifully uniform for strike, near extremely fine and OF THE HIGHEST RARITY; the first of its kind discovered since 1841, only full coin extant and comprehensive proof of this issue being struck under Eadgar; and thus the most important addition to the extremely limited corpus of 10th Century 'Round Halfpennies' since the discoveries of the Eadwig parallel coin at Calbourne (Isle of Wight) in 2006 and the Wilton coin of Boiga sold through these rooms in December 2011 for £10,400.
Found at Preston Candover (Hants), Sunday 9 October 2022,
~ Recorded with the Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambs), ref. EMC 2022.0360 ~
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The via media of English kingship underwent a transition through the latter half of the tenth century, not least in the identification of the Sovereign to his subjects. The reflection of the ebbing and flowing fortune of the Cerdic household in the conquest, abandonment and reconquest of the Danelaw plays out across their numismatic emissions. The conversion also included the familiarisation of language towards the historic Royal seats at Winchester, and would ultimately culminate in birth of the 'modern Coronation' ceremony at Bath on 11 May 973.
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When Eadgar's half-uncle Aethelstan declared himself REX TOTIUS BRITANNIAE before AD 931, the coinage reflected this elevation as much as it commemorated his recapture of York about AD 927. The perpetuation of this title, alongside its localised variant REX SAXONORVM continued in the liberated Northern territories until his death in AD 939, but unlike the Caesarian transitions of Rome, the title would not pass uninterrupted to his successor and eldest son Eadmund (939-946). His reign would be punctuated by the loss and recapture of York to Hiberno-Norse factions, and the temporary issue of coins signed in his name EADMUND REX EB[ORACVM].
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Eadred, his younger brother, succeeded him in on 26 May 946; gifting England an effective Regency as a pre-cursor to the maturation of Eadmund's children. Although EADRED REX was thus styled on the majority of his coinage, the furtherance of 'exceptional types' at Chester permitted his apparently brief elevation to EADRED REX SAXONORVM (EMC 2009.0296). Evidently the reflection of such title came with a legitimate rule over Mercia and Northumbria, rather than an as honorific or optimistic claim to the territory as the Hanoverians displayed with France in the 18th Century. The final ostracisation of the Viking force from Northumbria occurred with the death of Erik Bloodaxe at Jorvik in AD 954. Eadred's response was to appoint Earl Oswulf as high-reeve of Northumbria at Bamburgh Castle; a position that he likely occupied until his own death in AD 963. When Eadwig ascended on 23 November 955, the fourteen year old swiftly found himself less favoured than his younger brother Eadgar. Dunstan, Abbot of Glastonbury had been the chief religious aid to King Eadred, turning down the bishopric of Winchester in 951, and Crediton in 953 to maintain loyally to the King's count. However Dunstan, a gold and silversmith by profession, inadvertently offended the new teenage King soon after his Coronation and was forced into exile. However in 957, Mercia and Northumbria separately recognised Eadgar as King of the Northern territories, whereas those areas south of the Thames continued to recognise Eadwig as overlord. Eadgar immediately recalled Dunstan and appointed him Bishop of Worcester. The following year Dunstan was given the see of London too. Soon after, Oda, Archbishop of Canterbury died and a dispute arose between Eadgar and Eadwig about a successor. Eadwig favoured Ælfsige of Winchester, who unfortunately died in the Alps on his journey to Rome. Subsequently Eadwig appointed another loyalist Byrthelm, Bishop of Wells. However Eadwig's death on 1 October 959 truncated this appointment, and Eadgar soon replaced Byrthelm with Dunstan.
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The numismatic timeline for this demarcation has hitherto been poorly understood other than to state that Eadwig's coinage as REX ANGLORVM was evidently acceptable in both Kingdoms, and Eadgar until his brother's death appears to have remained simply 'King of the Mercians' and probably without a styled coinage. In Eadwig's south-western stronghold, 'Circumscription Cross' Pennies were struck at the Devon mints with more expressive titles than his wider national series. At Barnstaple, REX SAXONUM reappears alongside his name, elsewhere more curious legends including the semi-blundered 'REX ZAXN TATVM (or possibly TA[L]IVM) at Totnes; and even REX (ANG)TNI (Exeter), which may provide us with hybrid expressions of 'King of All (or even These) Saxons' and even 'King of the Ang(li)tani'.
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Prior to the discovery at Headley (Surrey) in 2014, Eadgar's principal Penny coinage could be divided into four core types. Unsurprisingly the Circumscription Cross and Two Line types once again form the bulk of the national series. The expansion of the portrait issues also appear in larger quantities at this time. However, more locally the continuance of 'Exceptional' types from Mercia frames the regional variation in which the remarkable 'Alpha and Omega' Penny from Shaftesbury evidently sits (EMC 2014.0296). Whilst these coinages can hardly be deemed radical in the numismatic context of 10th Century workmanship or artistic precedent, the return of the loaded 'ethnic determiner' REX TOTIUS BRITANNIAE under Eadgar for the first time since Aethelstan some two decades before, perhaps indicates his desire to venerate his ancestral house of Cerdic during his reign. The concerted efforts towards a reliable round Halfpenny coinage further point to this, with the remarkable 'Restoration' of King Alfred's 'Londonia Monogram' issue, judging by the higher weight standards, about the time of his wider coinage reform post-Coronation in AD 973.
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The overlaying of different types across various regions is further compounded by the apparent interchangeability of the latinised VV and Old English 'wynn' when communicating a 'W' in a moneyer's name, the mint signature of even the name of the King, who in the case of Eadwig is known in both forms. However in studying the important mint of Winchester, one unearths a distinct correlation between the spelling of these names and the phases of production within the context of the reign, ultimately aiding our understanding of the chronology of their production. EMC can identify only three moneyers with confidence to Winchester for the short reign of Eadwig. Interestingly all have styled him 'EADVVIG' rather than 'EADPIG' as seen on contemporary issues from north of the Thames basin. Frithumund and Manngod are evident from the inclusion of a VVIN mint signature, with Leofric assumed as the third given the findspot at single coin on Winchester Cathedral Green in 1964, and a moneyer of that name there during the reign of Eadgar. By the end of the latter's reign all coins of Winchester would be styled 'PINTONIA' or an abbreviation thereof. However a tight group of four moneyers, including Leofric, are known for striking coins at Winchester with the styling VVIN, VINT or VVIN CI. It is no coincidence that these coins almost all bear the short-lived 'REX TO BRI' styling in the obverse legend, suggesting both came into use soon after the accession of Eadgar on 1 October 959.
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Contextually the accession of Eadgar from 'King of Mercia' to 'of all England' was an equivalent upgrade to that made by his half-uncle Aethelstan by AD 931. This would be a sufficient prompt to explain the redeployment of such a unique title, especially at an important mint previously under the control of his brother. Interestingly of these moneyers, Ælfsige, Leofric, Martin and Ragnulf, at least two would still be signing coins after the currency reform of AD 973. Given the timespan of only fourteen years between these two events, it is reasonable to conclude that they are the same individuals, or at the very least close relatives, who carried on the profession. Two further moneyers, Frithumund (of Eadwig fame) and Marscalc are known pre- and post-reform, so it would be no surprise to witness future additions to this admittedly small corpus being found bearing their name.
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As no coin is yet known bearing the spelling 'VVIN C' [WIN CIVITAS - as per Margaret Gelling (2012), pp. 79-85] for the post-reform period, it is reasonable to interpret this spelling as a diagnostic feature of Eadgar's earlier coin issues. It would follow that this spelling was ultimately phased out during the 960s as a result of phonetic pronunciation of PINT(ONIA), alongside the cementing of the King's title as 'REX ANGLORVM' or a permutation thereof. Both Edward the Martyr and Aethelred II would continue to use this title unaltered until the latter's deposition in AD 1016. Consequently this would place our remarkable new coin early in Eadgar's reign, and given the direct parallel to the Eadwig example found in 2006, presumably exceptionally close to his actual accession. The weight standard of this new coin pegged around 9grns [complete], is much closer to the pre-reform Penny standard of circa 19grns; than it is to the post-reform issue of circa 23grns. Both the 'Exceptional types' and the Circumscription Cross types similarly accord with this standard, with the latter types bearing the REX AN(GLO) signatures suggestive of this 'transitional language' phase of production, like that borne out on Ælfsige of Winchester's coins that are initially signed 'VVINT' - 'REX ANGLO'; but latterly become 'PIA' - 'REX AN'. Intriguingly given the survival of at least seven specimens of the Londonia Monogram 'Restoration' types of Eadgar, some of which are recorded at 10.8 grains, it is possible that this production is more closely associated to the reform issues than previously ascribed, although as Pagan (pers. comms) rightfully notes: "This suggests to me that there would certainly seem to be three distinct groupings into which these coins fall, but the occurrence of the anomalous mint signature PINTONIA in the REX TO BRI grouping and the occurrence of VI, VVIN, etc. in the other groupings also suggests that the topic needs further research".
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Whilst contextual cartulary documentation is famously doubtful; it is quite evident that the remodelling of the Winchester mint signature will be critical to our understanding of the phases of Eadgar's specie. Previous attribution of the REX TO BR signature at Chester has posited the dates of 961-963 (CTCE 288b), this new find could possibly stretch that back closer to the onset of his reign proper. The importance of the full comprehension of this two decade span of production will further unlock our appreciation of his concerted efforts towards the establishment of a regular round Halfpenny coinage in circulation; his veneration of the Wessex household and its achievements over the previous Century; and indeed ultimately the very coronation of Kings and Queens in a format that England has recognised and treasured ever since. In the pre-amble to King Charles III's own coronation, never before has Eadgar's crucial decree 'una mensura sicut apud Wincestram' seemed more apt.
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In any case, the discovery of this second coin, comprehensively proves the since-doubted attribution made back in 1841 by Charles Roach Smith, for a coin exhibited by him at a meeting of the Numismatic Society of London on 23 December (cf. Lindsay, Heptarchy [1842], pp. 89; and, Catalogue of the Museum of London Antiquities [1854], pp. 108 - the latter recording that coin's accidental destruction]). This original find, since lamentably destroyed, was documented as having been found in the rubble of St Bartholomew's Church which had been demolished between August and October 1840 in reaction to the Royal Exchange Fire of 1838 and planned widening of Threadneedle Street. Contemporaries recorded the removal of the 'light and graceful church' in sombre tone. Edward John Carlos, writing in The Gentleman's Magazine, prophesied: "The apathy with which the removal of St Bartholomew's Church will be remembered and felt when perhaps the loss of this church will be found a trifle in comparison with the wholesale destruction to which, ere long, the churches of the metropolis may chance to be destined". , ,
Newspapers' were more matter of fact: 'The entire removal of the bodies and remains interred at St. Bartholomew's Church, by the Royal Exchange has just been effected; and amongst the last excavated were some bones and a portion of what was once a coffin, which former are supposed to be the relics of Miles Coverdale, the first English translator of the Bible which received the royal assent." In December, Toplis and Son, the auctioneers would sell off the 'valuable materials; chiefly stone, leaded roofs, marble pavement and ironwork' relating to the Church. (The Globe, 2 October 1840)
Estimate: £6,000 - £8,000

Match 3:
Noonans (formerly Dix Noonan Webb) > Auction 267Auction date: 1 February 2023
Lot number: 179

Price realized: 10,000 GBP   (Approx. 12,326 USD / 11,287 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
Lot description:

English Hammered Coins from Various Properties

Kings of East Anglia, Æthelstan (825-40), Penny, [Ipswich], Eadnoth, edelztan re+, draped bust right, breaking inner circle, rev. eadnod monet around cross-crosslet, 1.36g/6h (Naismith E30a, same obv. die = SCBI BM 833, same dies; Pagan, BNJ 1982, p.58; N 434; S 948). Nearly extremely fine, struck on a full round flan, free from the usual porosity but with some patchy toning; extremely rare thus £8,000-£10,000


Naismith's corpus records just two examples of Æthelstan portrait pennies struck by Eadnoth, from two obverse and two reverse dies. The present coin, which is seemingly only the fourth known example, was struck from the same dies as the coin now housed within the British Museum, and the same obverse die as the piece sold through these rooms in 2022.
Æthelstan was a king of the independent Kingdom of East Anglia which emerged following the end of Mercian Supremacy in 825. Unfortunately, the paucity of contemporary written sources means that we know little about events in the region during the first half of the ninth century. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle relates that in 825 the Mercian King Beornwulf, after his disastrous defeat at the battle of Ellendum against King Ecgberht of Wessex, was slain by an anonymous king of the East Angles. Beyond this, little interest was shown by the Chronicle's compiler towards the East Anglian kings or their activities. This fact, coupled with a complete absence of surviving charters from the area, means that we must turn to the numismatic evidence for answers. The identity of the first independent king of East Anglia is made clear from the hoard record, with the Middle Temple hoard being particularly informative. The large group, deposited at some point during the 840s, contained 243 early ninth century coins produced under various kings across England. Included within were some 39 pieces of Æthelstan. No coins of any other independent East Anglian ruler were present, making Æthelstan's primacy clear.
The name Eadnoth, the moneyer responsible for the striking of the coin offered for sale here, first appears on pennies of the Mercian king Offa in the 780s and then on coins of the obscure local king Eadwald who usurped power in East Anglia for a brief period during the late eighth century. Following this Eadnoth signed no coins during the first two decades of the ninth century, despite the productive nature of the East Anglian mint under the supervision of the Mercian Kings Coenwulf and Ceolwulf. Finally the name reappears in c. 824 on the coins of the last Mercian rulers to exercise power within the region, Beornwulf and Ludica, before continuing onto the coinage of the independent king Æthelstan. Given that several decades lapsed between these episodes of the minting activity we ought to consider the possibility that these are two different moneyers by the same name. Elsewhere, attempts have been made to detect familial connections between successive moneyers operating within the same area who share similar names. The case of Eadnoth may provide another good candidate for such a scenario, and it is possible that the Eadnoth who struck our coin was a relative, perhaps even a son, of Offa's moneyer.
In common with all of Æthelstan's portrait coins, the present specimen was struck at the beginning of the monarch's reign, as part of an issue that probably lasted until c. 830. Æthelstan portrait pennies were completely absent from the Middle Temple Hoard. From this some have inferred that these early coins must had dropped out of circulation by this point. However, the same hoard contained numerous pennies struck under Æthelstan's Mercian predecessors, Coenwulf, Ceolwulf and Beornwulf. It is difficult to believe that all of Æthelstan's portrait pennies ceased to circulate on account of wear, damage and loss whereas those of earlier rulers consistently did not. We should not dismiss the possibility that Æthelstan's Portrait coinage was officially called in and deliberately withdrawn from circulation in a renovation monetae. Such a policy was seemingly employed by the Kings of Wessex during the second half of the ninth century to help bring uniformity to their currency and led to a total absence of earlier coins in hoards deposited after the reform's instigation. It is notable that following the short episode of iconographical variation early in Æthelstan's reign all of the East Anglian coinage, continuing throughout the reigns of his successors Æthelweard and Eadmund, was of a generally consistent design. If such a reform was implemented it would help to explain why the portrait pennies of Æthelstan remain so excessively rare, despite the general increase in ninth century coins discovered and excavated over the previous two decades.

Works cited:

Blunt, C.E., Lyon, C.S.S., and Stewart, B.H.I.H., 1963. 'The coinage of southern England, 796–840', BNJ 32, pp.1–74
Pagan, H.E., 1982. 'The Coinage of the East Anglian Kingdom from 825 to 870', BNJ 52, pp.41-83
Pagan, H.E., 1986. 'Coinage in southern England, 796-874' in M.A.S. Blackburn (ed), Anglo-Saxon Monetary History: Essays in memory of Michael Dolley (London), pp.45-66
Naismith, R., 2011. The Coinage of Southern England 796–865, BNS Special Publication 8, 2 vols. (London)
Naismith, R., 2012. Money and Power in Anglo-Saxon England: the Southern English Kingdom 757-865 (Cambridge)
Stenton, F., 1971. Anglo-Saxon England. Third Edition (Oxford)

Match 4:
Spink > Auction 23004Auction date: 3 April 2023
Lot number: 628

Price realized: 35,000 GBP   (Approx. 43,274 USD / 39,812 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
Lot description:

(x) Elizabeth II (1952-1965), An 'Unauthorised Striking' 22ct 'Electrum-Alloy' Gold Halfpenny, 1965, from official Royal Mint dies (Alloy: 91.7% Au; 4.7% Cu; 3.6% Ar), laureate first young head right, by Mary Gillick, M.G. incuse on truncation, rev. Golden Hind sailing left in calm seas, 12.44g, 25.5mm., 12h (Lobel EL2HD-130; cf. Freeman 492, dies 3+H; cf. Spink 4158), areas of striking softness to mast, planking and below HALF, with scarcely perceptible sporadic bagmarks in otherwise lustrous, original fields, choice FDC, a truly enigmatic 'mint sport' heirloom from Queen Elizabeth II's unprecedented reign, this in effect 'her rarest coin' alongside the 1954 Penny as being entirely UNIQUE.
Spink 207, 28-29 March 2012, lot 1051,
The Property of a Monmouthshire Collector (May 1925 - † September 2000), and by descent to an executor,
W G Pritchard, Glendining, 8 October 1991, lot 1039*,
~ Royal Mint letter to D Fearon, confirming earlier findings, dated 29 July 1991 ~,
Mr Michael Forman, 'a representative of the Royal Mint came to Birmingham to hand the coin back', 9 December 1969
Royal Mint Museum Collection, 28 February - 8 December 1969,
Frank H Fellows & Sons (Edgbaston) Sale 15, 20 November 1968 - sale postponed following investigation by the Director of Public Prosecutions into the origins of the coin, prompting its seizure by Birmingham CID under the Coinage Offences Act (1936) ~,
~ Prior to the auction, 'Mr A E Fellows, partner, stated: 'I was absolutely astounded. It was brought to us about two weeks ago. The coin did not look as if it had been touched since it was struck.', (Birmingham Daily Post, 14 November 1968) ~,
The Collection of a Birmingham Gentleman, who sold the coin by private treaty back to Forman
Michael Forman, (Format Coins & Medal Co., Birmingham) 'to a local collector', by private treaty, 1967 - £700.0.0
'Purchased in London, from a reputable dealer' by Mr Michael Forman, 1966 - 'There are people capable of making coins like this, but I believe it was made at the Royal Mint in 1965.'
, ,
In 1991, the coin was resubmitted for examination at the Royal Mint when the following statement was given: "It does not correspond to any coin that was struck by the Royal Mint in the 1960s. There seems little doubt, however, that whatever the origin of the blank it had been struck by official halfpenny dies. It is true, as my colleagues noted in 1968, that in places the design has not been fully struck up, but elsewhere the fine striations on the surface are consistent with what might be expected of halfpenny dies of the period. The areas of weakness reflect a less than full blow, or perhaps a blank with an uneven surface, and it may be significant that the edge has evidently required special treatment. It was not possible in 1968 to throw any light on the circumstances in which the coin was struck, and my colleagues contented themselves with the statement that the coin had not been struck either legally or accidently in the Royal Mint. This form of words did not exclude the possibility that a Mint employee had brought in a gold blank and illegally and deliberately, placed it in a coining press at work on 1965 halfpennies. It is a possibility which surviving papers show was raised at the time, and it remains, perhaps the most likely explanation.,

~ "Still no sale for the gold halfpenny": The gold halfpenny that came back to Birmingham yesterday after two legal wrangles cannot be sold yet - it is still regarded as counterfeit. But last month, the High Court upheld an appeal by the coin dealers against the lower court decision. And yesterday, a representative of the Royal Mint came to Birmingham to hand the coin back. Mr Michael Forman, managing director of the Format Coin and Medal Co. said last night: "We have got the coin back, but it will be put away in safe keeping for the present. Within the law it is still counterfeit. We shall now take what legal steps we can to clarify the position, because numismatically speaking, we don't regard it as a counterfeit." Mr Forman said he believed the gold coin was made illegally at the Royal Mint. (10 December 1969, Birmingham Daily Post) ~,

~ Solicitor Maurice Putsman petitions for the return of the coin to Format Coins, as it is accessioned by Mr. Baird into the Mint Collection. ~,

~ Birmingham Stipendiary, Mr John F. Milward orders that the 22ct gold coin 'made in 1966' should be handed over to the Royal Mint, (28 February 1969, Birmingham Daily Post) ~,

~ "The mystery halfpenny", 'Mr Ernest George Newman, a chemist and assayer of the Royal Mint said he had examined the coin and found it was made of an alloy of gold, silver and copper of a type which was not used in the Royal Mint. Questioned by Mr. Putsman, Mr. Newman said that in his opinion the coin was counterfeit because it had not been made legally or accidentally in the Royal Mint. He agreed that the coin could have been made illegally in the Mint. Mr. William T. Baird, Superintendent of the Royal Mint, said he had examined the coin and was also of the opinion that it had not been struck legally or accidentally in the Royal Mint. Questioned by Mr. Putsman he agreed that it could have been produced in a Mint die - but had it been an ordinary halfpenny it would have been rejected as sub-standard. He could not rule out the possibility that it had been struck improperly in a Mint die. Mr. Baird said that the most noticeable differences between the coin and a genuine halfpenny were its colour and its weight. It was possible that someone could be deceived into thinking that it was a half-penny. Mr. Putsman: 'Can you imagine and possible object in making someone thinking that it was a halfpenny? - None whatsoever. Mr. Putsman said there was no clear definition of a counterfeit coin. He submitted that coin was not a counterfeit. It was not intended to pass for one of a higher denomination - it was merely a piece of gold alloy struck in the form of a halfpenny. There could be no possible intention to deceive, as it did not represent a coin of a higher denomination. Mr A R Arnell (appearing for the Police) said that the coin was not a halfpenny, and it was not a genuine gold coin. it could be described as a "genuine gold imitation half-penny". That meant it was false and counterfeit. Making an order for the coin to be handed over to the Royal Mint, Stipendiary (Mr. J. F. Milward) said: 'I am quite satisfied now, odd though the result is, that it is a counterfeit coin. It is false, and it resembles a current coin of the realm. It is true that there are differences in colour and weight, but it is not all that different in appearance from a new halfpenny, which is bright when it leaves the Mint." After the case, Mr. Baird said the coin would be held for seven days, and then it would be put in the museum at the Mint. The museum at the Mint was unique and contained many very valuable coins. (21 February 1969, Birmingham Mail) ~,

~ "Gold coin was not made at the Royal Mint", An investigation into a gold halfpenny which had been advertised for sale in Birmingham, had shown that it had not been produced at the Royal Mint, either legally or accidentally, the Birmingham Stipendiary J F Milward was told yesterday. Mr D. Emrys Morgan, for the police, said that the coin had been seized by police on a warrant under the Coinage Offences Act, 1936. The Stipendiary, who was shown the coin, ordered that it should remain in the possession of the police during the adjournment. Asking for an adjournment until February 6, Mr. Morgan said that the police had information that the coin was being advertised for sale as a 1965 gold halfpenny. Mr Morgan added: 'There are people who are interested in this particular coin and I ask for adjournment so that they can be heard, and it is desirable that they should be heard. Mr. Morgan said that police took possession of the coin after a warrant had been issued the Coinage Offences Act of 1936, and this was the first convenient time for the matter to be brought before the court. (22 January 1969, Birmingham Daily Post) ~

~ A spokesman for the Royal Mint stated: 'It would have to be struck from a die if it is an exact replica. It could have been struck with steel dies in a power press. We have never heard of such a thing as a gold half-penny before. It might well be unique.', 13 November 1968 ~,
, , ,
From the legal wrangling, it is evident that this coin remains officially condemned as a forgery 'made neither legally or accidentally by the Royal Mint', with provisional metallurgical analysis conducted in December 1968 suggesting that the blend of gold, silver and copper was not consistent with any authentic mint product at that time. However an exhaustive study of the dies confirms their match to Freeman's attributed matrix pairing '3+H', the same as that identified for the currency strikings of 1965. Since 1969, the public appearance of a multitude of 'mint sport' strikings from 1965, and the years immediately surrounding adds significant credibility to Michael Forman's original contention that this was an illicit production inside the Royal Mint. For example:
i) Halfpenny, 1965, 5.73g, 12h, struck in cupro-nickel; LCA 175, 4 December 2021, lot 2132, graded LCGS 80, 'Variety 02' (£240); LCA 139, December 2012, lot 532 (£130)
ii) Commemorative 'Churchill' Crown, 1965, struck with two obverse dies; Stack's, 14 August 2019, lot 22903 - PCGS MS63 [$2,200]
iii) Penny, 1966, struck on a Commonwealth (Jamaica ?) brass coin blank; SRA 7, 21 September 2022, lot 255 - LCGS 70 [£650]; Steve Copthorne, collection dispersed by Cooke; Dr Findlow 'Hall of Fame'; C Adams, Spink, 23 July 2003, lot 371
iv) Two-Shillings, 1966, 7.30g, 12h, struck on a foreign lightweight planchet; Spink Numismatic e-Circular - '50 Years of Decimalisation', 6 January 2022, lot 9110 - NGC UNC Details [£75]
v) Penny, 1964, 12h, a double reverse mule; Spink Numismatic e-Circular - '50 Years of Decimalisation', 6 January 2022, lot 9111 - NGC AU58 BN [£750]
, , ,
The Royal Mint Annual reports add the following contextual details:, ,
In 1965, Superintendent Baird recorded:,
Die Production:,
The Die Department has been reorganised to cope with the demand of dies and tooling both for internal use and for external supplies. The heat treatment shop has been equipped with additional salt baths, the method of packing dies in charcoal and heating them for stress-relieving and hardening in muffle type furnaces has been thereby superseded., ,
The hydraulic die-sinking press installed last year has been successful and has supplanted the friction press for the hobbing of all coinage dies. A further press of the same specification is on order and will be used for the hobbing of matrices, punches and standard medal dies., ,
In collaboration with Birmingham University, a project has been put in hand to explore the possibilities of high-rate forming techniques for die manufacture. Further developments which are still under consideration include:, ,
i) Automatic examination of coin blanks
ii) Automatic weight grading of coins or blanks in precious metals.
iii) A universal automatic feed for coining presses
iv) Elevator feed for rotary blank annealers
v) Continuous or semi-continuous casting techniques
, ,
Ten 180 ton Hordern, Mason & Edwards coining presses were installed. Two of these were fitted with a variable speed friction drive unit in place of the D.C. motor normally supplied. An improved method of bottom die location was tried and proved on one press and is now being applied to all machines.
, ,
The increases in production of coins, medals and specimen coins put a considerable burden on the security organisation; this was covered by increasing the supervising staff in some sections and improving the security layout in areas concerned., ,
During the year 3.5 million ounces of gold were processed and successfully accounted for. Process losses are normally so tightly controlled that there is little scope for improvement; losses were slightly lower than in the past notably in the melting area where a 5 per cent improvement was achieved.
, ,
Staff Employed in the Operative Department at the End of 1965
Professional - 11,
Clerical - 51,
Technical - 44,
Drawing Office - 5,
Die and Seal Department - 62,
Melting - 55,
Rolling, Cutting, Annealing, Marking- 236,
Coining - 176,
Weighing and Telling - 68,
Mechanics - 152,
Medal Department - 53,
Stamp and Revenue Department - 38,
, ,
The numbers of good pieces passed for issue in 1964 and 1965 are shown in the following table:,
United Kingdom Coinage - 441,152,068 (1964) - 500,922,606 (1965)
Commonwealth Coinage - 353759,700 (1964) - 424,784,700 (1965)
Foreign Coinage - 249,716,500 (1964) - 332,360,000 (1965)
The 500,922,606 pieces of the United Kingdom coinage passed for issue were made up as follows:,
Sovereigns - Gold - 5,400,000 - £5,400,000,
Maundy Sets - Silver - 4,806 - £50.0.0,
Crowns - CuNi - 12,080,000 - £3,020,000.0.0,
Halfcrowns - CuNi - 8,124,800 - £1,015,000.0.0,
Florins - CuNi - 48,723,000 - £4,872,300.0.0,
Shillings (English) - CuNi - 9,218,900 - £460,945.0.0,
Shillings (Scottish) - CuNi - 2,017,100 - £100,855.0.0,
Sixpences - CuNi - 149,948,000 - £3,748,700.0.0,
Threepences - Nickel-Brass - 23,907,200 - £298,840.0.0,
Pence - Bronze - 135,534,000 - £564,725.0.0,
Halfpence - Bronze - 105,964,800 - £220,760.0.0,
, ,
*These include the following coins dated 1964:, ,
£1 - 3,000,000,
2s. 6d. - 1,474,400,
2s. - 1,135,000,
1s. (E) - 2,900,
1s. (S) - 1,100,
6d. - 22,076,000,
3d. - 2,787,200,
1d. - 14,334,000,
1/2d. - 8,764,800,
, , ,
Life of Coinage Dies:,
Number of dies used 1964: Obverse 16,270 / Reverse 14,358 / Total 30,628 - Coins: 1,050,851,646 = Average 68,620 per die,
Number of dies used 1965: Obverse 19,765 / Reverse 17,996 / Total 37,761 - Coins: 1,261,602,287 = Average 66,820 per die, , , ,
The following table is an analysis, according to alloys, of pieces passed for issue in the years 1964 and 1965.,
United Kingdom 916.67 - 5,090*,
Struck before 1964, but not included in any previous totals:,
£1 - 3,622 dated 1963, and £1 - 1,468 dated 1962
, ,
The Melting Branch reported a total of 3,587,493.824 ounces (109.8211 tons) of gold coin and scissel melted to produce 3,379,950.160 (103.4677 tons) of gold bars, with a fineness between 92.890 and 94.570. The following is recorded:,
.999 Fine - 11,307.298 oz - 0.3461 tons = 10,693.870 oz - 0.3274 tons - 94.570%,
.980 Fine - 22,206.895 oz - 0.6798 = 20,628.810 oz - 0.6315 tons - 92.800%,
.916.6 Au/Ag - 8,753.581 oz - 0.2680 tons = 8,225.730 oz - 0.2518 tons - 93.979%,
.916.6 Au/Cu - 3,545,226.050 oz - 108.5272 tons = 3,340,401.750 - 102.2570 tons - 94.222%
, ,
The percentage of gold bars cast in the years 1964 and 1965, which after assay were passed for rolling are shown below:,
United Kingdom - 916.67 - (-) [1964] - 98.19 [1965],
Commonwealth and Foreign - 999 - (-) [1964] - 100.00 [1965],
Commonwealth and Foreign - 980 - (-) [1964] - 100.00 [1965],
Commonwealth and Foreign - 916.67 Au/Ag - (-) [1964] - 100.00 [1965],
, , ,
X-Ray Fluorescence Analysis:,
Coin production has risen 63 per cent over the last two years and seems likely to rise continuously, if a little less sharply, for many years to come. With this increase has come the problem of storage space for raw materials, the materials in process and the finished coin., ,
By making materials available shortly after arrival and by releasing coins for issue within hours of striking, the X-ray fluorescence spectrometer has made a valuable contribution to the production increase. It has also made it possible to reduce certain stockpiles and release more working space., ,
The 73 per cent increase in the number of assays performed in 1965 over those of 1964 is partly due to the practice of determing all the major constituents and some minor ones in each individual sample; in practice, using the spectrometer, this takes very little extra time and minimizes errors. , ,
Previously, for instance, zinc was determined 'by difference' and nickel determined only on one sample in five - unless there was a reason to suspect incorrect composition., ,
The national and international standing of the Royal Mint makes it essential for the Assay Office to keep a consistently high standard of compositional control. For many years such standards have been maintained by classical methods of chemical analysis. The recent rapid growth of coin production had made it necessary to expand the department to cope with the increased analysis. The expansion has been made in the direction of instrumental methods of analysis and only one addition has been made to the staff. The advent of the X-Ray Spectrometer two years ago marked the beginning of the programme to modernise the Assay Office. The office has five floor levels including a basement. Before the spectrometer took the bulk of the routine assays, two rooms on the first floor were used for weighing out samples. The smaller of these two rooms is now quite adequate for weighing gold and silver. The rest of this first floor consists of administrative offices of the department and a laboratory for gold and silver analysis. Of the remaining space on the ground floor, one room is devoted to X-ray fluorescence analysis and the other contains furnaces for gold assaying; this latter room is to be modified to include the R.F. induction furnace (mentioned in the 1954 Mint Report)., ,
Sovereign Production:,
A new mill manufactured by Messrs. Albert Mann Ltd., having 6 in. diameter by 7 in. diameter rolls driven by a 10 h.p. a.c. single speed motor with a three speed gear shift unit was introduced. Initial troubles due to slight roll-to-bearing eccentricity were overcome, following which the mill has been in continuous use. , ,
During the course of the year the standard accuracy has improved until it has surpassed the level of previous runs. The sovereign has a weight of 123.274 grains with a tolerance by weight of +/- 0.2 grains. The finished gauge at the required diameter is 0.0485 in. with a tolerance of +/- 0.0000787in., ,
Previous runs on sovereign production produced cut blanks from the finished strip which were acceptable for coining in the following percentages:,
1958/9 - 68.5 per cent,
1963 - 72 per cent,
1965 - 82 per cent,
1965 December - 90 per cent, ,
In the last quarter there was an almost total elimination of light blanks; the small percentage of heavy blanks were reduced by anodic dissolution to within the upper weight limit.

Estimate: £20,000 - £25,000

Match 5:
Roma Numismatics Ltd. > Islamic, Medieval and World Sale 3Auction date: 17 March 2023
Lot number: 430

Price realized: 2,800 GBP   (Approx. 3,391 USD / 3,192 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
Lot description:

Italian States, Sicilia (Sicily, Kingdom). Frederick I (later Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor) and Constance, as Empress of the Holy Roman Empire, AV Tari. Amalfi mint, November 1198. Outer circle Kufic legend: 'struck in his reign in the year five hundred ninety-five'; inner circle Latin legend: ⧾ FRE REX SICILIE around palm tree in fruit in central circle / Outer rim Kufic legend: 'struck in the year one-hundred one-thousand ninety and eight; inner rim Kufic legend: 'Constance imperatrix of the Romans', around Latin cross in central circle. L. Travaini, 'Le monete Sveve con legend arabe nel Regno di Sicilia (1194-1220)' in RIN 1986, p. 136, 2; MIR 36; MEC 14, p. 166 fig. 3b; CNI XVII, p. 10, 1, pl. 1, 14; G. Sambon, Repertario generale, 1113; M. Guglielmi, La monetazione degli Svevi nell'Italia meritionale, Serravalle RSM, 2000, p. 67, 1; D. Spinelli, Monete cufiche, Napoli 1844, pl. 20, 1; R. Levinson, The Early Dated Coins of Europe 1234-1500, Clifton 2007, p. 258; Friedberg 51. 0.89g, 26mm.

Extremely Fine; some areas of flat strike.

From the inventory of a European dealer.

This remarkable scyphate-shaped tari bears two dates: Hegira 595 and Christian era 1198, the earliest Anno Domini date ever recorded on a coin, which according to Philip Grierson and L. Travaini commemorates the investiture formally granted to Frederick II and Constance by Pope Innocent III on 19 November of that year. In return the Pope received an annual cens of 1,000 'schifati', cf. MEC pp. 165-6.

Amalfi was an independent republic from the 7th century that managed to extract itself from Byzantine vassalage in 839 and first elected an independent duke in 958. By 944 Amalfitan merchants were already present at Constantinople, trading with Egypt by the late 10th century and rivalling Pisa and Genova in its domestic prosperity and maritime trade with Asia before the rise of the Venice. In 1073 the republic fell to the Norman countship of Apulia and was granted many rights and attained great wealth. In about 1080, Amalfitans founded a hospice for pilgrims in Islamic occupied Jerusalem, from which the Order of the Hospital (St. John of Jerusalem) later developed. Under Roger II in 1131, Amalfi passed into the kingdom of Sicily and by 1220 the Empire of Frederick II. In matters of medieval culture, Amalfi was famous for its multiculturalism, flourishing schools of law and mathematics, maritime code and the reputed Amalfitan Flavio Gioia, who in about 1300 was considered first marine pilot to have introduced the sailor's compass to Western navigation.

The date on the Amalfi tari must be connected to the fact that Islamic coinage had been dated from the time of the 5th Caliph, 'Abd al-Malik in the 77th year of the Hagira, the migration of Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Yathrib in AD 696/7. Amalfi had been within the Islamic monetary sphere strongly influenced by the Emirate of Sicily since the 10th century, in which the standard gold unit was the gold Tarì (meaning "fresh" or "newly minted money"), the Christian designation of Ruba'i or quarter Dinar with the ideal weight of 1.05g of gold.

The idea that coins should bear a date of issue referencing the time passed since the birth of Christ was not widespread in Europe until the mid 16th century. While the learned Scythian monk, Dionysus Exiguus from Tomis, formulated the Anno Domini calendar in the 6th century and is still used to enumerate the years of both the Julian and Gregorian calendars, it was not until the advent of this issue in 1198 that European coinage was so dated. This dating system was not utilised again until 1234 by the bishopric of Roskilde on its silver deniers and in 1251 in Arabic script on the Islamic styled silver coinage by the crusader city of Acre. In the spring of 1250 the papal legate Odo of Châteauroux arrived in Syria and was scandalized to learn that the Franks were striking gold and silver coins with the name and dates of the Muslim Prophet and had them substituted with purely Christian legends and dates in the name of the Messiah, albeit written in Arabic to maintain acceptability in the region. Much later from 1372 dated groschen in the name of Charlemagne were struck on a regular basis at Aachen.

Frederick II, son of Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, and Constance, the posthumous daughter of Roger II de Hauteville and heiress to the Norman kings of Sicily, was an infant of only three years of age when his father died and was crowned king of Sicily on papal authority at Palermo cathedral on 17 May 1198. Frederick's minority under his mother only lasted five months as the regent died on 27 November 1198.

Estimate: 3000 GBP