Edward VIII gold sovereign is Britain's most valuable coin at $875,500

An Edward VIII proof sovereign has become the most valuable British coin ever sold at auction, surpassing all expectations in Baldwin's sale of the Hemisphere Collection of Gold Sovereigns on May 8.

Edward VIIi Proof Sovereign
The coin was controversial before the king abdicated, with Edward VIII breaking a tradition that existed since King Charles II

The coin, produced as part of a proof set of coinage that never made it into circulation, sold for ?�516,000 (4875,616) to an anonymous bidder in Baldwin's London showroom. It was never made available as currency due to King Edward VIII's abdication in 1937.

The auction marked the third time that this example of the coin had appeared for sale, with its last UK outing in 1984, when it sold for ?�40,000.  

The previous record for a British coin was set in July 2006 by one of only three Edward III florins, created in 1344, at ?�460,000 ($780,588). The current price marks a 12.1% increase.

Even before Edward VIII - later Duke of Windsor - abdicated the throne, the coin caused controversy as the king refused to follow the tradition of facing the opposite direction of his predecessor.

Preferring his left facing profile, he broke from the tradition established by King Charles II, who wished to face the opposite direction to Oliver Cromwell.

The sale follows on from Baldwin's sale of the Bentley Collection of British Gold Sovereigns, which realised nearly ?�4m ($6.6m) in 2013. The Hemisphere Collection spans 525 years, 15 monarchs and seven mints, and is the first of its kind to track the sovereign since its inception.

"In comparison to The Bentley Collection, The Hemisphere Collection brings together both handmade hammered and machine made milled coinage to give the fullest outline of the sovereign's history, offering collectors of both hammered and milled sovereigns an unprecedented opportunity to celebrate the denomination together," explained director of British coins, Steve Hill.

See our own exceptional collection of gold coinage for sale, including this wonderful shilling created in besieged Carlisle during the English Civil War.

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