London auction offers 'failed' $11,000 coin from the reign of Edward IV

It was one of the first-ever gold coins struck in Paul Fraser Collectibles' home city of Bristol, nearly 450 years ago during the reign of Edward IV (brother of Richard III, pictured top right)...

And next month, an historic 7.48g half-ryal coin is set to auction at a Spink in London with a £5,000-7,000 ($7,988-11,183) estimate.

When it was originally produced, from 1464-1470, the half-ryal proved both unpopular and short-lived; hence its extreme rarity on today's markets.

The coin was introduced as a five shillings (or 25 pence) counterpart to the ryal, worth 10 shillings (50 pence). However, its production was thwarted by a gold shortage in England.

Gold was worth more in Europe at the time, and England's supplies suffered as gold was exported to the continent to capitalise on the economic trend.

The half-ryal coin, produced between 1464-1470

Prior to the introduction of the half-ryal, only silver coins had been produced at Bristol Castle which had a mint for more than 350 years between 1279-1643.

The design of the specimen appearing for sale at Spink bears a 'B', belying the coin's origins, in waves below a ship. Aboard the ship is King Edward IV, wielding a sword and shield.

Billed as "good very fine, rare" in Spink's lot notes, this coin could prove a surprise hit at the London sale - perhaps even surpassing its relatively modest estimated pre-sale value.

Spink's London sale takes place next Thursday, December 2.


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