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Baldwin's of St. James's
Auction 14  14 Jan 2018
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Lot 125

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Estimate: 5500 USD
Price realized: 5500 USD

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British Coins, Victoria, proof half sovereign, 1839, plain edge, young head l., rev. crowned garnished shield of arms, struck en médaille (S.3859; W&R.344), certified and graded by NGC as Proof 64 Ultra Cameo
Mintage figures for the 1839 proofs have long been argued about, 300 original sets being accepted by many numismatists as approximately accurate, but it is worth noting that the £5 Una and the Lion piece was struck by the Royal Mint on demand from collectors through some five decades, up until about 1886, with varying minute details, including edge styles, being telltale indications of whether they were minted in 1839 or later. The same does not seem to be true of the other denominations, although both the sovereign and the half-sovereign are known with either plain or reeded edging, and in both types of die-orientation. The 'coin rotation' version was most likely the piece placed in the 1839 sets. The 'medal rotation', or en médaille, die orientation, on the other hand, possibly indicates special pieces which may have been presentation items, made during or close to 1839. Such pieces exist for both the sovereign and the half-sovereign. Most collectors, however, seek this coin as a representation of the special proof striking of the charming, early portrait of the queen.
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