Coins make a mint at auction in Birmingham

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Fellows Monies, Medals & Militaria auction on Thursday 25th April saw high prices achieved for coins of many denominations and origins, especially those made from gold and silver.

The star lot from the auction was a Victorian gold sovereign from 1841.

Weighing just under 8g and measuring about 2cm, this small coin was worth way more than its weight in gold. The coin, which was struck in 1841, is one of the rarest sovereigns around due to the limited mintage that year. It was not in the best of condition. The auctioneers graded it as Very Fine which means that it has visible considerable wear.

Because of its condition, the coin was entered for sale with an estimate of £2,000 – £3,000. The wear on it did not seem to deter collectors. It went on to achieve a hammer price of over £10,000 following intense online bidding from 4 parties. The final price realised of £13,650 (including fees) was an excellent result for the auction house’s 2nd Monies, Medals & Militaria auction.

Numismatics specialist Sally Oliver said “It was such a privilege to be able to handle an 1841 sovereign. It is one of the rarest dates of this coin type. We were delighted when it came in and we thought it might make a good price but the hammer of over £10,000 is an excellent result for our vendor. It’s up there with one of the greatest prices this type of coin has ever made at auction”.

Is Birmingham becoming a numismatics hub?

The story of the sovereign is a truly Brummie affair. It was consigned to auction in the firm’s Jewellery Quarter head office by a local vendor and eventually sold to a local collector.
Also in the auction, a set of George VI specimen coins in near mint state went on to achieve a realised price of £11,180 (including fees) from an estimate of £5,000 – £7,000. This lot of coins in their original presentation box from 1937 included 4 coins: a 5 pound; a 2 pound; a sovereign; and a half-sovereign.

From across the pond, an early American dime from 1796 realised a price of £5,655 (including fees). The coin was designed by Gilbert Stuart in the early 18th century with the engraver Robert Scot working on these rare coins. The design featured a draped bust of Liberty with the word LIBERTY and the date 1796 below. It showed 15 stars around the phrase UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, depicting the synonymous American eagle with spread wings. The dime was in Near Extremely Fine condition and is considered extremely rare in the world of numismatics. 1796 was the first year this denomination was minted and was one of only 22,135 produced making it numismatically significant.

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