A coin for a new world quintuples expectations

Following immediately after its sale of the Michael Hall's collection of medallic art, Baldwin's offered another unmissable auction for collectors of rare coins - a 1196 lot sale of world and ancient rarities held in London.

The grand auction included, as a substantial section of 258 lots, the Strickland Rolfe Collection. This collection is remarkable in that it has remained in the Rolfe family since the collector's death in 1852, completely untouched.

Perhaps it is not surprising that it was a coin from the collection which achieved the status of most valuable lot at the sale, but the coin which did vastly outdid its estimate.

The coin in question was an uncirculated pewter coin from America in 1776 - the year of its independence.

Strickland Neville Rolfe 1776 pewter Continental Dollar
Strickland Neville Rolfe 1776 pewter Continental Dollar

The piece is a Continental Dollar, weighing 18.49g, of pewter currency type, twin olive leaf edge device, of which just three are known. It was struck from late stage obverse die but with all details still showing.

Of the three examples of the coin, it is considered to be clearly superior to the J J Ford specimen offered at auction in 2003, which sold for $46,000. So perhaps the estimate here of £10,000 ($14,700) was overcautious.

Nevertheless, the final price hammered of £54,000 ($80,250) astonished everyone, and sealed a great day for Baldwin's following their success in selling the other great collection the previous day.


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