Rare Henry VI coin quadruples estimate

Spink's sale of rare coins in London today seems to have caught a mood of particular enthusiasm. Of the lots we concentrated on, every single one sold for more than its estimate:

The 1935 commemorative Drachmai to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the returning Greek monarchy sold for £8,000 compared to an estimate of £5,500-6,000 (all prices in this article exclude buyer's premium).

The gold solidus struck during the reign of Frankish Emperor Louis the Pious sold for £15,000 rather than its expected price of £8,000-10,000. The unique status of the coin - being a genuine example of some of the very earliest Frankish gold money - impressed bidders in particular.

Both Elizabeth I coins did very well. The Eight Testerns piece doubled its estimate of £6,000-8,000 to be taken home by a determined bidder for £14,000, whilst the fine half pound showing the Virgin Queen with long flowing hair achieved £15,000 - £5,000 more than its highest valuation.

The Frankish solidus and Elizabethan half pound were the highest estimated lots, but remarkably neither was the biggest or even second biggest sale despite their strong performances.

Oliver Cromwell 1656 Coin Protectorate
Cromwellian coin

One coin which caused some highly competitive bidding was a very rare Cromwellian coin from 1656. The piece, showing a laurel wreathed head on the obverse and Protectorate shield on the reverse had only been listed at £3,000-4,000.

Excited bidders soon left this valuation behind, however, and the coin was eventually sold for an impressive £16,000.

Collectors interested in Cromwell may like to see our document autographed by him.

An even rarer coin from the second reign of Henry VI performed just as well against its estimate to achieve top lot status.

Henry suffered from severe mental health issues, possibly schizophrenia, and was never safe on the throne. His first reign ended on 1461 when he was deposed by his cousin, who became Edward IV. His supporters successfully returned him to the throne for a mere six months from October 1470.

Henry VI coin second reign 1470 1471 dragon
Coin from Henry VI's second reign

The coin sold depicts St Michael slaying a dragon with 'henric di gra rex' round the edge of the obverse. Listed at £4,500-5,000, bidders were excited by the fine condition and extreme rarity of the piece which eventually sold for a full £21,000.

The auction shows the depth of interest in numismatics and the potential to make rare coins a very profitable investment.


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