St. James's Auctions
Auction 78  27 Sep 2023
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Lot 1025

Estimate: 30 000 GBP
Price realized: 35 000 GBP
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G Victoria, pattern gold proof farthing, 1860, plain edge, young head left, rev. crowned cruciform shields (WR.400; Peck.2166), certified and graded by PCGS as Proof-66 Deep Cameo, R6 (exceedingly rare as only 3-5 examples are thought to exist), heavily frosted on portrait and shield, gleaming with mirrorlike lustre
Adolph Weyl of Germany was the force behind the creation of a series of suggested patterns for Victoria's late Young Head and early Jubilee Head coinage-pennies, halfpennies and farthings dated 1860 and 1887. All were engraved and die-sunk by the Lauer family firm of Nuremberg. In the case of the 1860-dated pieces, the patterns suggest an adherence to tradition tempered by what is best described as an imaginative reawakening. Victoria's portrait has been slightly altered from the classic by William Wyon, chief engraver of the Royal Mint, in use since 1837: the curls of her hair and its bun have been made higher and wavier, subtly confirming her relative youth more than twenty years after the portrait was first modeled. For the farthing, as seen here, Britannia was replaced on the reverse by a classic but ornate cruciform on one shield of which Weyl inserted "animals of the empire" (elephant, seal and kangaroo). Peck suggested that these patterns were thus intended for use in the homeland and in British colonies or dominions. The reverse legend supports this concept. The beautiful, deeply engraved reverse, a circular shield, features scallops facing inward (two in each angle of the open field) with a pair of roses, a thistle, and a shamrock balancing the design. At centre is a delicate four-leafed flower, its ends just touching the points of the shields. Each shield is topped by a crown. All in all, it is a splendid unifying motif. Legends are all in English. This too suggests a worldwide intention, abbreviated legends in Latin having a homeland origin and tradition. Although Weyl's patterns were never accorded official status by the Royal Mint, and most likely were all struck as late as 1904 (for which Peck gives evidence), they have been embraced by collectors for more than a century as exquisite patterns that celebrate Victoria and her era. This farthing in gold also exists with a straight-grained, or reeded, edge. Each is so elusive that, normally, it cannot be collected. This lot represents an extremely rare chance to acquire what can only be described as a numismatic treasure.

Estimate: 30000 - 35000 GBP
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