Wednesday 18th November 2020 - Belle Gait
Two extremely rare gold coins sold at an auction in Monte Carlo for record-breaking prices
I’m sure you would agree that coins are one of the popular and sought-after items that frequently go under the hammer. Even some modern coins can fetch quite a high price like the London 2012 Olympics Aquatics 50p – the first iteration of which depicted water passing over the swimmer’s face, a feature which was later modified. Because there are fewer of this original design in circulation, experts agree that they could potentially fetch up to £1500 in mint condition!
Of course, reference must be made to the infamous 1933 British penny. Due to a surplus in pennies in 1932, the Royal Mint did not need to create any in 1933. It, therefore, transpired that only a few were created strictly for ceremonial purposes. Royal Mint records show that only 6 of these coins were ever struck; once such coin known as the “Pattern” version set its’ own record fetching £72,000 at a London auction in 2016.
Indeed, whilst this sale did set a record of its’ own; it didn’t come close to the recent record-breaking sale of a pair of coins which went under the hammer on 29th October in an auction house in Monte Carlo. The two coins, designed by the late William Wyon, earned the esteemed accolade for the highest price received for a British coin sold at auction. They were extraordinary examples of an Una and the Lion £5 piece and an 1831 George IV five sovereign piece. Each coin saw the hammer fall at €820,000 (over £745,000). The previous record for a British coin sold at auction was reached at Baldwin’s of St James in New York in January 2019 when a 1703 Vigo five guineas piece sold for $900,000.
Considered one of the most brilliant British numismatic rarities, the 1831 George IV piece is undoubtedly a remarkable coin. Due to the king’s demise in 1830, less than 10 of these are known to exist, and the one that went under the hammer in Monte Carlo was the most well-maintained example ever seen.
Equally stunning, perhaps even more beautiful, and considered one of the most sought after milled coins are the 1839 Una and the Lion. This £5 gold piece has the young portrait of Queen Victoria on the front and the backside again has Victoria pictured, this time in complete coronation regalia as Una leading a majestic lion. This coin, originating from a legendary set of 15 coins sold originally at Leigh Sotheby and Wilkinson in 1856 for ten guineas. It also previously went under the hammer with Baldwin’s in London, selling for £420,000. The set has now been split, and the coin went under the hammer by itself in its’ most recent sale.
While you may not be able to get your hands on these two exclusive coins; you can set auction alerts so that you don’t miss out on any of the incredible coins such as these Royal Mint Proof silver £2 coins or these commemorative Titanic coins listed by our auctioneers.