Sovereign Rarities Ltd   |   Auction 1 - Sovereign Rarities Ltd and The Royal Mint   |   25 September 2018 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 31

Estimate: 25'000 GBP   |   Starting price: 20'000 GBP Price realized: 65'000 GBP
Henry VIII (1509-47), gold Sovereign, third coinage (1544-47), Tower Mint, type IIa, struck at a 23 carat gold standard on a small module, initial mark small lis both sides, facing crowned robed figure of King on ornate throne, rose below, 8 type legend with Gothic lettering and beaded border surrounding, slipped trefoil type stops, hEnRIC; 8; DI; GRA; AnGL’, FRAnCIE; Z; hIBERn’; REX;, rev. crowned quartered shield of arms, with lion and dragon supporters, HR ligatured on banner below, Latin legend with Roman lettering and beaded border surrounding, error A absent in third word, slipped trefoil stops, IhS; AVTEM; TRnSIEnS; PER MEDIVM; ILLORVM; IBATxx, weight 12.88g (Schneider 608; N.1824; S.2290). Toned, just a couple of slight striking weaknesses evident, otherwise good very fine for issue, very rare indeed to be struck in fine gold at this weight standard.

Ex F. G. Hilton-Price, Sotheby, 17th May 1909, lot 80, sold to Spink for £13/10/-
Ex Spink Coin Auction 190, 27th September 2007, lot 546.

This very rare issue in the 23-carat gold standard was struck as a first step towards the great debasement that occurs in the third coinage of King Henry VIII. A secret indenture not made public, dated 16th May 1542 allowed for the striking and storage in the Tower of 23 carat gold issues, the total of which weighed a mere 541 pounds in weight with a face value of £15,595 for this accounting period. This issue may perhaps have been exclusively Tower type I struck on a large module with the larger headed King in 23 carats, but is likely to have included some of this subsequent issue, like we have demonstrated herewith. The public indenture was issued on the 28th May 1544 for the debased 23 carat fine gold issue, and was current until the next stage of debasement with the subsequent indenture of the 27th March 1545 some ten months later. This more public period of 23 carat issue totalled some 5,761 pounds in weight of gold which equated to a face value of £165,931 and encompassed, the Sovereign, the Half-Sovereign along with the Angel, Half-Angel and Quarter-Angel all with the lis mint mark as demonstrated here. These issued amounts of finer gold are comparatively small when compared with the lower carat later issues of the debasement period, with nearly four times more face value produced from March 1545 until March 1547.

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