Starting price: 24 000 GBP
Price realized: 86 000 GBP
Elizabeth I, sixth issue, sovereign, mm. A (1583-85), queen enthroned holding orb and sceptre, portcullis at feet, back of throne and uprights decorated with pellets, ELIZABETH D G ANG FRA ET HIB REGINA, rev. shield of arms on Tudor rose, A DNO FACTV EST ISTVD ET EST MIRAB IN OCVLIS NRS, pellet stops, wt. 15.48gms. (S.2529; N.2003; Schneider 778, same dies; Brown & Comber A9), a superb example, not quite fully detailed in the centres but still a model of balanced quality of strike and colour, extremely fine, especially rare in this state of preservation
*ex Christie's, 14 May 1962
Glendining, 26 November 1980, lot 224
Spink 95, 25 November 1992, lot 6
Purchased Knightsbridge Coins 2006
Exhibiting the seldom encountered 'A' initial mark (also seen on the following coin), this beautiful and massive gold coin enjoys an historical association that should appeal to many bidders: it was minted when the population, of some four million, was more than adequate for the needs of commerce. In short, unemployment was rampant. The companies of merchants, especially in London, sought to export labour-to encourage emigration, both for their own financial benefit and to alleviate the shortage of work. The first attempts to colonise America came from this impulse as the settlement of Virginia was founded in 1585. Whilst it failed, it nevertheless set in motion a history of emigration. What did succeed, and considerably lessened the problem of employment, was the growth of an industry that supplied the goods and services of export trade across the Mediterranean during the last three decades of Elizabeth's reign. Inflation occurred but so did increases in wages, all of which called for more money, gold coins for foreign business and silver coins mainly for internal commerce. Ultimately there was a need for silver trade coins (the testerns used by the East India Company), but in the 1580s it was gold that dominated trade. The largest pieces, such as this coin, frequently moved abroad and ended up being melted for the metal used to make other countries' money.