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The E-Sylum: Volume 14, Number 11, March 13, 2011, Article 19

1937 KING GEORGE VI GOLD MATT PROOF COINS

Caroline Newton of Baldwin's in London forwarded a press release about a rare set of coins in their upcoming auction. Here are some excerpts. -Editor

1937 George VI gold matt proof obverse 1937 George VI gold matt proof reverse

Following the phenomenal success of the British spectacular The King’s Speech at the Oscars Baldwin’s latest auction consignment couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. Offered in its original Royal Mint case, a set of four 1937 Gold, Matt Proof finish coins, commissioned to commemorate the Coronation of King George VI, are sure to be the highlight of the Baldwin’s London auction, due to be held in May this year.

The set, which carries a weighty estimate of £90,000 " 110,000, is one of only two known sets struck with an experimental matt finish specifically to be used for pre‐production promotion of the coins minted by the Royal Mint to commemorate the Coronation of the King in May 1937.

In 1936, when the new designs were in gestation, numismatic photography was in its infancy. The reflective properties in the gold metal used to mint coinage made it impossible to generate a clear image of each coin. The Royal Mint successfully experimented with matt finishes produced from a sand‐blasting process to generate these pre‐production coins which were used to advertise new coins to the public.

This set would have been one of the first to be produced solely for that purpose. One of only two of its kind known to exist in private hands, the case housing the coins has a black velvet pad, inverse in colouration to the normal cream used for brilliant proof sets in 1937. Unlike its counterpart (illustrated individually in Wilson and Rasmussen), this beautifully preserved set has its original and unusual case intact.

The set comes complete with a copy of a letter, dated 4th October 1961, from the Royal Mint, Tower Hill, London, outlining the method and process for preparation of the set and confirming that the set was a pre‐production example that was not released to the general public.

George VI is now well known for his speech impediment, apparent in the early recordings of his public speeches, which has become the storyline for this years BAFTA and Oscar award winning film, The King’s Speech. The stammer plagued him in his role as a public speaker throughout the first ten years of his reign.

He sought ongoing help from the Australian speech therapist, Lional Logue, and eventually overcame his affliction. King George and his wife, Queen Elizabeth, became a well loved Royal couple, famously refusing to leave the environ of Buckingham Palace during the Blitz, even when it was bombed.

1937 George VI gold matt proof set

In the U.S. we would describe the finish as "matte". Interesting set. This is the first I've heard of actual coins produced specifically for photographic purposes (as opposed to plaster or electrotype copies). Have any other mints done this? -Editor

THE BOOK BAZARRE

RENAISSANCE OF AMERICAN COINAGE: Wizard Coin Supply is the official distributor for Roger Burdette's three volume series that won NLG Book of the Year awards for 2006, 2007 and 2008. Contact us for dealer or distributor pricing at www.WizardCoinSupply.com .


Wayne Homren, Editor

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