The Bentley Collection In the year that Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Diamond Jubilee Baldwin’s are delighted to be selling at auction the most British of coin collections. Formed over 34 years by a private collector, t
News-Antique.com - Mar 23,2012 - In the year that Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Diamond Jubilee Baldwin’s are delighted to be selling at auction the most British of coin collections. Formed over 34 years by a private collector, the Bentley Collection is the ultimate collection of British gold Sovereigns and is sure to generate interest from collectors and investors alike.
The sale of the first part of this outstanding collection will be held on the 8th May in London and contains over 380 individual lots, all from the Royal Mint when it was based in London. Apart from the extremely rare 1819 Gold Sovereign, part one of the Bentley Collection contains at least one example of every single date issued for currency in the UK, as well as many Pattern and Proof (prototypes of coins) issues. The extremely rare 1819 Sovereign, the finest known specimen in private hands, will be offered for sale in part three of the collection, due to be sold in May 2013.
What began as a foray into the numismatic world as a way of owning gold in the late 1970s quickly became a passionate quest to formulate one of the greatest collections assembled of the British Gold Sovereign. Not only was the collector fascinated by the Sovereigns standpoint in history, as one of the most long-lived, respected and widely distributed coins in the World but, they were also awestruck by the physical form the Sovereign takes, being 22mm in diameter, weighing 7.98g and struck in 22 carat gold. From the start there was a strong focus on acquiring only the highest quality pieces for the collection and a decision to focus on modern currency Sovereign (1817 onwards.)
During the 1990s, in the wake of Black Monday, some major collections were dispersed by private treaty and at public auction, which gave the current owner some fantastic opportunities to acquire some of the most important pieces in the collection. Some of the rarest Pattern and Proof issues were added during this period. As the collection grew it became more than just a complete date of Sovereigns it also became an illustrative history of the modern Sovereign from conception in 1816 until decimalisation under Queen Elizabeth II.
An 1817 George III (1760-1820), Proof Gold Sovereign, 1817, engraved by Benedetto Pistrucci depicts the laureate head of the King and a reverse showing the first incarnation of the now iconic image of St George slaying the dragon with a broken lance. The resulting Sovereign design adopted for currency, here demonstrated struck to “Proof” quality from highly polished dies. Such delightful pieces were gifts given to highly influential persons to show the pride in the new design; today they are extremely rare. The Bentley Collection also contains examples for George III dated 1818 (part three) and 1820 (part two). This lot is estimated to sell for £15,000 – 20,000.
1817 saw the introduction of St George and the dragon by the Italian engraver Benedetto Pistrucci on the reverse of the coin. Pistrucci, originally from Rome, was