A troublesome King's collectibles command strong prices at a Spink auction

On Thursday, Spink concluded their Portraits of a Prince sale - a treat for numismatists interested in Edward VIII's brief reign, which was based on the collection of Joseph S Giordano.

We focused on three coin lots and a medal set, the latter being the medals awarded to Jack Crisp.

The three coin lots were all Edward VIII-faced coins dated 1937, which rendered them obsolete immediately when the troublesome monarch resigned in December 1936. All three sold within their expected range, and make strong investments:

The Pattern Silver Florin, (undated but from 1937) was created by T H Paget for the Royal Mint, and had been milled flat on the reverse - the only one of seven to be officially treated in this way - and it brought £13,325.

A Bronze Pattern Halfpenny and a Pattern Silver Threepence, both in exceptional condition were the expected top lots, and so it proved. Each of the coins is one of only seven examples known, and the coin on offer is the only matt proof example of its kind in uncirculated condition.

Edward VIII 1937 Halfpenny
Edward VIII 1937 Halfpenny

The halfpenny shows the Golden Hind on the reverse whilst the Threepenny has intertwined signet rings. Each coin brought exactly the same price: £17,350.

Jack Crisp was valet to Prince and then King Edward until his master abdicated and set off for a relatively modest role in the Caribbean.

Crisp is notable being a key source of information on the state of Edward and his family, especially about the period in the run-up to his abdication. Crisp painted a picture of Wallis Simpson as simply appalling, claiming that she once went around Fort Belvedere breaking the tip off every pencil in sight, thereby forcing the servants to sharpen each and every one of them again.

Jack Crisp's medals
Jack Crisp's medals

Of the eight medals Crisp was awarded, the most collectible is his Royal Victorian Medal, as only two are ever thought to have been awarded bearing King Edward's mark. As a whole the medal set forms an exceptional piece of Royal memorabilia and it sold for £9,530 - near the top of its £6,000-10,000 listing.

Notaphilists take note: The surprise performers of the sale were actually tintype proofs of the front and back of the proposed Bank of Canada bi-lingual $1 banknote, again dated to 1937.

The front showed the central vignette of Edward VIII, as Prince of Wales, in uniform of the Seaforth Highlanders, whilst the (slightly smudged) reverse shows the allegorical figure of Agriculture.

Expected to sell for just £1,000-1,500, the exceptionally rare set floated all the way up to £4,930 - another indication of how underrated banknotes are as tangible investments.


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