England’s first gold coin set to sell on January 7-8

The first gold coin minted in England is set to cross the block at Heritage Auctions’ NYINC World Coins sale on January 7-8.

The penny was produced under the orders of Henry III in 1257, in an attempt to keep up with continental Europe.

Henry III coin

The coin displays a portrait of Henry III

Gold was increasingly available in Europe thanks to the Crusades (1095-1291), which saw triumphant knights return from the Middle East with sack-fulls of the stuff. New trade routes to the east were also opening up.

Gold currency was a powerful status symbol and Henry was keen to show England’s competitiveness.

He had 50,000 of these coins made. However an error was made in calculating the correct weight, meaning the value of the gold exceeded the value of the coin.

These original coins were recalled and smelted down.

Heritage coin expert Cristiano Bierrenbach told the Daily Mirror newspaper: "The coins had a standard weight of 3.5 grammes but an error was made and the coin was made too heavy, about 4.2 grammes.

"After that the coin was pulled from circulation and they were melted down and more gold pennies were struck at the correct weight.

"It is incredibly rare to come across one of these. It is a big ticket item and we expect it to go for higher than the estimate."

The lot is valued at $250,000-500,000.

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