Sovereign Rarities Ltd
Auction 4  21 Sep 2021
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Lot 239

Starting price: 6400 GBP
Price realized: 24 000 GBP
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Charles II (1660-85), gold Two Guineas, 1664, elephant below first laureate head right, Latin legend and toothed border surrounding, CAROLVS. II. DEI. GRATIA, rev. crowned cruciform shields, emblematic sceptres in angles, four interlinked Cs at centre, date either side of top crown, Latin legend and toothed border surrounding, .MAG. BR. FRA. ET. HIB. REX., 16.77g (Schneider 430; EGC 204; MCE 32; S.3334). Softly struck on the highest points but with trivial evidence of handling, minor hairlines over reflective original surfaces, small edge nick on reverse at 3 o'clock, pleasing red toning around devices, extremely fine.

The Latin legends translate as on the obverse "Charles the second by the Grace of God," and abbreviated on the reverse as "King of Great Britain, France and Ireland."

Such coins with the elephant provenance mark below the bust were issued by the Royal African Company, which was launched by Prince Rupert in 1660 to bring back gold and trade goods from Africa. The Company did well at first, and produced this gold coinage of Two Guineas dated 1664 after an initial first issue of Guineas the year previously. Guineas were also issued dated 1664, but the larger Two Guineas piece was used for the bulk of the Royal African Company issue in order to coin their gold more quickly. 1664 was also the year in which the Company became over-confident on the African coast trying to take over some of the Dutch trader forts and positions, in which Sir Robert Holmes with up to eleven Royal Navy warships at his disposal was perhaps too aggressive in taking over Dutch assets and was briefly imprisoned on his return for taking his orders too far. The monetary costs of his confrontations also caused havoc with the Company's finances, somehow soldiering on with some further coin issues, through to 1671 when it eventually became insolvent. The Company was soon relaunched again from 1672 as the Royal African Company of England.

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