James I narrowly defeats Richard III at Spink coins auction

Spink's auction of rare coins today appears to be doing rather better than they expected. With under 500 lots sold so far, they have already achieved a total of over £500,000 with some of the most covetable lots bringing several times their estimates.

These included all three James I gold coins which we covered in the run-up to the sale: both the Rose Ryals from his second and third coinage respectively and the even rarer Spur Ryal from the third.

The Spur Ryal was a development of the earlier Rose Noble, or Ryal which was worth ten shillings when issued by Kings Edward IV and Henry VII, and fifteen shillings when issued by Queens Mary and Elizabeth I.

A rare Spur Ryal gold coin from the reign of James I
A James I third coinage Spur Ryal gold coin

Taken in order: the second coinage Rose Ryal beat its £6,000-8,000 listing to sell for £11,000, the unusually red-toned third coinage Rose Ryal passed its £10,000-12,000 pricing to reach £20,000 and the Spur Ryal achieved an excellent £28,000 against an estimate of £18,000-22,000.

Those are all bare hammer prices, exclusive of premiums. So far, the Spur Ryal of the first king to follow the Tudors is the biggest seller - but only just.

 It received a challenge from a coin from the last king before the Tudors, Richard III, who was narrowly defeated in battle by Henry Tudor, later to be Henry VII.

The Angel coin does not depict Richard as such. The obverse shows St Michael spearing a dragon, surrounded by the text ricad di gra rex angl z franc - the king's name is double-struck - whilst the reverse shows a shield within ship, small cross above dividing 'R' and a rose.

Richard III Angel gold coin
Richard III Angel gold coin

The rose would of course have been a representation of the white rose of York. Estimated at just £7,500-8,500 the extremely rare, almost extremely fine, piece sparked a bidding frenzy and sold for an impressive £27,000 - an indication of how strong the coin-collecting market is at the moment.

Collectors interested in entering this lively investment market might be interested to take a look at this range of rare coins which is currently on the market.


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