Heritage Auctions' Ancient & World Coin Signature Auction has seen a fine example of the 1887 Victoria gold crown sell as top lot.
Held January 6-7 in New York, the auction saw the crown sell for $235,000 including buyer's premium, just meeting its reserve of $200,000. Its relatively low sale price can be attributed to the coin being part of a private issue by German die-sinking firm L C Lauer, rather than the Royal Mint.
Nonetheless, these private issue crowns are still highly collectible and are not to be confused with the "toy issue" coins also produced by L C Lauer, which are in plentiful supply and of much lower value. Many of the L C Lauer crowns are actually believed to be unique, or of the utmost rarity.
The example at auction is one of the finest of its type, and was once part of the illustrious Murdoch collection.
Graded PR64 Cameo, the 1887 coin is a magnificent example of what was the final year of the "young head" design, which was struck after William Wyon's renowned portrait at the beginning of Queen Victoria's reign. The portrait on the obverse is complemented by the Order of the Garter on the reverse, surrounded by an intricate bowed wreath.
Paul Fraser Collectibles also has a fantastic example of William Wyon's work, in the form of a William IV proof crown which is a new, previously unrecorded variety.
Heritage Auctions will continue its January coin auctions with the US Coin FUN Signature auction, which stars the famed 1794 Frothingham dollar.