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Baldwin's of St. James's
Auction 10  22 Sep 2017
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Lot 3060

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Estimate: 60 000 GBP
Price realized: 60 000 GBP

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British Coins and Medals, George III, pattern crown in silver, 1817, by William Wyon, the 'Incorrupta', draped laur. head r., date below, rev. crowned shield of arms, with Latin legend INCORRUPTA FIDES VERITASQUE ('An Untarnished Faith') surrounding, edge plain (ESC.229 [R4]; Bull 2029; L&S.159), certified and graded by PCGS as Proof 65, evenly toned in shades of russet grey, a couple of ancient shallow nicks on the king's cheek, otherwise close to FDC, very rare and a classic British crown
Named for the first word of the legend on its reverse, which features an unusually bold and crisp image of the royal shield, this is one of a pair of classic patterns conceived and engraved by William Wyon, who at the time was an under-engraver at the Royal Mint. Linecar and Stone comment rightfully that the large shield of arms occupying the centre of the reverse of this coin bears more than a little resemblance to the shield engraved in the middle of the seventeenth century by Thomas Simon. It also broke the tradition of a cruciform royal crest seen during much of the previous two centuries on crowns. Wyon's portrait of the aged king was also an extraordinary feat of engraving. It differs from his portrait engraved for the Three Graces crown, which is simpler and sharper looking, but here we see King George perhaps a bit more lifelike and wearing an elegant drape around his neck. Curiously, while the lengthy obverse legend fits perfectly around the portrait on the Three Graces coin, here it seems a bit 'busy' and, as Linecar and Stone point out, it ends buried in the king's drapery: this is unusual, they describe, 'bearing in mind the mathematical accuracy of the designs of William Wyon which set a standard rarely equalled before or since his time'. But the design was not accepted, and in the following year, 1818, a simpler and more compact portrait was mated with Pistrucci's St. George motif, to produce 5-shilling coins for commerce. The issued coin appeared for a scant three years, when the king suffered most from his mental imbalance; he passed away probably never having seen examples of his 'New Coinage' and surely never having laid eyes upon any of Wyon's majestic patterns.
*ex F Willis, Glendidning 7/10.1991, Lot 465
Dr. Rees Jones, Spnk 19/11/1996, Lot 200 (60000-65000 GBP)
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