Estimate: 250000 USD
Henry III (1216-1272) gold Penny of 20 Pence ND (c. 1257) MS63 NGC, London mint, Willem (likely William of Gloucester, the King's goldsmith) as moneyer, S-1375, N-1000 (ER), Evans No. 4, Lawrence Type II. 2.95g. hЄNRIC' | RЄX : I-I-I :, bearded and crowned king enthroned facing with scepter in right hand and orb in left / WILL | ЄM : O | N LVn | DЄN (quatrefoil), voided long cross with rose and three pellets in each angle. Beautifully struck and wholly original, this spectacular piece exhibits stunning cabinet tone over lustrous surfaces leading out to traces of upset rims. The centering is careful and the flan, although not overly broad, is near fully round and bears no cracks or obvious flaws. Of great rarity, we have been able to locate only seven pieces remaining of this issue, three of which are in private collections. The remaining four are housed in museum collections: three in the British Museum and one in the Fitzwilliam Museum.
Ex. Spink-Christie's (July 1996, Lot 203) where it realized GBP 159,000.
Ex. Lockett Collection (Glendining, June 1955, Lot 1196) by way of private purchase from Spink in July, 1919
Ex. Murdoch Collection (Sotheby, Wilkinson, & Hodge, March 1903, Lot 272)
Ex. H. Montagu Collection (Sotheby, Wilkinson, & Hodge, November 1895, Lot 386)
Ex. E.J. Shepherd Collection (Sotheby, Wilkinson, & Hodge, July 1885, Lot 126)
Ex. Murchison Collection (Sotheby, Wilkinson, & Hodge, June 1864, Lot 47)
Ex. Martin Collection (1859, Lot 74) by way of private treaty purchase from Marmaduke Trattle
First described and cataloged by British numismatists of the 18th century, the gold Pennies of Henry III represent a fascinating period in Medieval numismatics when gold was beginning to trickle back into European commerce after a dearth of nearly 500 years. Although Islamic and Byzantine gold coins were reasonably common, particularly to the landed gentry and royalty, the 12th and 13th Centuries saw a massive influx of gold into Europe following the Crusades and European encroachment upon the Trans-Saharan gold trade. The first successful European gold issue to trade throughout the continent in the High Middle Ages was the Florentine Florin, first issued in 1252 and struck essentially unchanged in weight or purity until the mid-16th Century. A flurry of imitations followed and, not to be outdone, King Henry III ordered the creation of a gold coin for his kingdom to be struck at twice the weight of a silver Penny and valued at 20 Pence. Although it was minted in at least a modest quantity as four die-pairings have been cataloged, the issue was ultimately unsuccessful and most of the coins were clearly melted down. Treasury records in the decade or so following the issue of these gold Pennies mention purchases or deposits, the last record in 1270 noting that a single piece was purchased for two Shillings denoting a rise in the value of this coin to 24 Pence. Sir John Evans suggested in his article "The First Gold Coins of England" (Numismatic Chronicle, 3rd ser., 20 : 216-51) that many of these pieces were offered to the church by the King and would likely have found the melting pot through that route. However, the esteem of offering the church gold coins minted in his name may explain why Henry's treasury was willing to pay a slight premium over their intended value. Following this failed issue, England would not produce another gold circulating coinage until the Florins of Edward III in 1344.
From the Penn Collection
Estimate: 250000-500000 USD