Will Bennett of Dix Noonan Webb forwarded this press release about a rare British Pattern Five Pounds gold coin being offered in their
upcoming September sale. Thanks. -Editor
An extremely rare Pattern Five Pounds gold coin which was designed as George III lay dying in 1820 and effectively became a
commemorative piece for the king is expected to sell for £200,000 to £250,000 at an auction held by Dix Noonan Webb, the international
coins and medals specialists, in London on 16 September 2015. Just 25 of the coins are believed to have been minted some of which were
given to museums and institutions while others went to some of the most influential figures of the time. The magnificent coins – the last
to bear the head of a monarch who had been on the British throne for 60 years – rarely appear on the market. This example is being sold by
a lady collector.
“This coin is something very special,” said Christopher Webb, head of the coins department at Dix Noonan Webb. “It is a wonderful
example of the coin engraver’s art. But it also marks the end of the reign of George III which had seen the loss of the American colonies,
the French Revolution, the rise and fall of Napoleon and the birth of the Industrial Revolution. Here beauty combines with history.”
This pattern coin – one produced to evaluate a proposed design but not approved for general release – emerged from the relationship
between William Wellesley Pole, Master of the Mint from 1814 to 1823, and the Italian Benedetto Pistrucci, his leading engraver, who came
to England in 1815. Thomas Wyon junior, the chief engraver at the Mint, died in 1817 but Pistrucci was barred from formally taking over the
post because he was a foreigner. Pole got round this rule by leaving the job nominally vacant, paying Pistrucci £500 a year and giving him
the use of the chief engraver’s official residence at the Mint. It was an arrangement that caused some resentment.
No large gold coins had been issued for circulation in England since 1754, before George III had come to the throne, and in December
1819, perhaps realising that the king’s health was rapidly declining, Pole instructed Pistrucci to prepare dies. Although workmen at the
Royal Mint laboured through the night to finish them in time, the dies were not completed when George III died at Windsor at 8.38pm on 29
With the king dead, the gold coins could not be minted for general circulation. Instead a small number – thought to be 25 although there
may have been 26 – were struck effectively as posthumous commemorative pieces. Six went to institutions such as the Royal Mint, the Bank of
England and the British Museum while eight were given to Royal Mint officials. The remainder were acquired by influential figures such as
the Marquis of Salisbury, and coin collectors such as the south London brewer Robert Barclay and the museum curator Edward Hawkins. It is
uncertain as to whether the Marquis of Salisbury received one or two specimens – hence the debate over whether there are 25 or 26 - but it
is more probably the former. Whatever the figure the 1820 Pattern Five Pounds remains one of the rarest British coins.
For further information and images please contact:
Dix Noonan Webb
16 Bolton Street,
London W1J 8BQ
Telephone: 020 7016 1700.
To read the complete lot description, see:
Wayne Homren, Editor
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization
promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.
To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor
at this address: email@example.com
To subscribe go to: https://my.binhost.com/lists/listinfo/esylum
Copyright © 1998 - 2020 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.
NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster