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Auction 17006  25-26 Sep 2017
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Lot 815

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Starting Price: 12 000 GBP
Price realized: 26 000 GBP

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Commonwealth (1649-60), pattern Halfcrown, 13.13g, 1651, 32mm., .m. sun, Unattributed, but presumably by Blondeau or Ramage, the. commonwealth. of. england, shield of England within palm and laurel wreath rev. coin alignment, god. vvith. vs., conjoined shields of England and Ireland, no mark of value, edge plain (ESC 68 {445D} [R7], this coin; N.-; S.-), light toning over lustrous, original surfaces, good extremely fine, the only recorded specimen.
Glendining, 10 February 2000, lot 255 - £6,800
Bt. Seaby [P A Rayner], October 1972 - £1,500
Jess Peters Fixed Price List, August 1971, no.268 - $5,250
D Doswell

This unique pattern Halfcrown has been the object of long-standing numismatic debate regarding its production. It is unclear from whence it originated prior to 1971 when it appeared in Jess Peters Fixed Price List, but was the subject of an article in SNC of July/August of the same year by D S Freedman, who called it 'unrecorded' and attributed its manufacture to Peter Blondeau. This he substantiated through the high quality of the engraving, and the Halfcrown bearing the legend "GOD WITH VS" with the sun mintmark as these characteristics are present on the Blondeau patterns (see lots 810, 811 & 812) engraved by Thomas Simon, and not those of David Ramage. This argument overlooks the fact that coins of this design and legend type were already being produced by the tower mint before Blondeau first arrived in England, and so both this pattern and Blondeau's later named patterns are likely emulating the same original design. Despite this, there is still some scope to the claim that the coin is of Blondeau's manufacture, as both are of very high quality and produced in a screw-press.
Later, in SNC November 1987 E. R. Nutbourne instead attributed the coin to Ramage as it bears similarities to his known Halfcrown pattern (see lot 814); namely smaller shields, a low number of harp strings, berries on the reverse frond, a twisted rope inner circle on the reverse and no mark of value. This opinion is echoed within ESC. The quality of the engraving, however, is far superior to that of Ramage's other work; furthermore, Ramage struggled to produce but a dozen pieces to present before the committee in 1651, and of those the Shilling and Halfcrown share dies. Thus it is unlikely that he was able to find time to produce such a fine piece whilst developing his other designs.
In many respects the engraving of the Halfcrown does not tally with either the work of Simon or that of Ramage. The sun mintmark depicted on the obverse of this coin is entirely different in its design to that of Blondeau's later example, or those produced by the tower. In its depiction it is far more similar to those seen on contemporary French coins by the engraver Jean Varin. Additionally, the entire treatment of the coin varies from Simon's, the w of with being separated into its constituent v v, the winged angel on the harp with its head facing rather than profile, and the twisted rope line on the reverse. Indeed the case could be made for this coin being an experimental first pattern of an engraver other than Simon, and manufactured by Blondeau, predating his later efforts and those of Ramage. If so, this is supported by Ramage's adoption (albeit to a much lower quality) of many of this coin's features on his own Halfcrown, indicating he may have been copying elements of this, Blondeau's first pattern.

Estimate: £15,000.00 - £20,000.00
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