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Gold Queen Bess rules at St James's... Rare Elizabeth I coin achieves $37,800

The London auction sold the piece alongside a coin showing St Michael killing the dragon


A week ago, St James's Auctions in association with Baldwin's held an auction of fine ancient, British and foreign coins with a number of gold rarities in particular which were always likely to excite collectors and alternative investors.

Ahead of the sale, we looked at a milled gold coin from the reign of Elizabeth I. The half-pound specimen dates from 1561 to 1570 and depicts an extremely rare bust. A crowned shield of arms is on the reverse.

Weighing 5.56g, it suffers from some very light surface marks but remains close to its original state.

Struck from the shilling die, this piece was expected to achieve between £17,500 and £22,500. It last appeared at auction in 1992, when it made £4,700 at Spink. This time it squeaked past that to reach $37,800.

rare Elizabeth I coin
This rare Elizabeth I bust achieved £23,000

It's no surprise to see that an Elizabeth I coin was in significant demand. We sold a silver oddity from her reign recently. It will make the new owner an excellent alternative investment.

The milled gold Elizabeth I coin was not the most striking success of the auction however. A Henry VI, restored gold coin depicting the archangel Michael slaying the dragon on a full round flan, (extremely fine, practically as struck and extremely rare in this condition) easily surpassed its £8,000-10,000 listing.

In fact, eager bidding caused the coin to sell for double its estimated value at £20,500 ($33,700).


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Image: St James's

Last updated: 2 June 2011