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Baldwin sets record with gold sovereign

This article was originally printed in World Coin News.
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A record price of nearly $870,000 was achieved May 8 when a proof 1937 Edward VIII gold sovereign was sold in London by AH. Baldwin & Sons Ltd.

The firm called the 516,000-pound-sterling price “a world record price for any Royal Mint coin ever produced in the UK.”

The coin was part of The Hemisphere Collection of Gold Sovereigns, the first complete monarchical collection of gold sovereigns ever to be offered at auction.

Only one example of the coin is available to collectors. The design was never produced for currency use because of the abdication of King Edward VIII 326 days after his accession to marry Wallis Warfield Simpson.

The coin originally formed part of a proof set of proposed coinage, the designs of which would have been minted and put into circulation after the king’s coronation in 1937.

The story of the coin shows that after the death of Edward’s father, King George V, in January 1936, Edward ascended the throne and proposals for his coinage were produced. Controversially he refused to follow the coinage traditions of facing in the opposite direction to his predecessor and insisted on using his left-facing profile that he preferred. This tradition was started with King Charles II who wished to face the opposite way to Oliver Cromwell, and had been followed ever since until Edward.

It is only the third time this example has appeared at public auction, and the first time it has been seen for sale in the UK since its first auction outing in 1984 when it achieved £40,000 (hammer).

Steve Hill, director of British Coins at Baldwin’s said: “It has been a pleasure to be involved with partly forming, completely cataloging and today selling this monumental collection. For the first time The Hemisphere Collection brought together sovereigns from every monarch, from the first sovereign struck under the reign of Henry VII to those of our current monarch, Elizabeth II.”

Elsewhere in the sale an Elizabeth II, gold proof sovereign dated 1953, another extreme rarity, sold for 384,000 pounds ($647,040). Topping the hammered coins was an impressive Henry VII gold sovereign, 1502-1504, which sold for 120,000 pounds ($202,200).



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