Bentley Has The Midas Touch The Great British sping may have been a wash out so far but the sale of The Bentley Collection raised more than a few smiles (as well as hands) as part one of the collection got off to a flying start.
252 Victoria, Pattern Sovereign, 1871, engraved after William Wyon, third young head left, with double fillet, W.W. in relief on truncation intrudes onto field, date below, toothed border and raised rim both sides, VICTORIA DEI GRATIA, rev struck en medaille, engraved after Jean Baptiste Merlen, crowned shield of arms within laurel wreath tied with bow below shield, seven harp strings in Irish arms, left string emanates from scroll, emblems below, small rosette either side, BRITANNIARUM REGINA FID: DEF:, reverse legend slightly doubled, edge plain, 8.04g, 21.8mm (cf WR 314; DM -; Murdoch 506; Nobleman 269, part). Tiny nick between D and E and I and A on obverse, otherwise brilliant mint state, well defined strike and unrecorded, the only known specimen.
ex Sothebys, 9 October 1995, lot 821
This coin could possibly be the Murdoch and Nobleman specimen but there are no illustrations in these catalogues to compare it to.
An unpublished Pattern Sovereign not in the Standard work, the year 1871 was significant as this was when the Pistrucci St George and dragon reverse design was re-introduced to the London sovereign. Both the shield reverse and the St George reverse were struck concurrently by the Royal Mint London until 1874. These 1871 proofs struck from highly polished dies were no doubt produced as a matter of record, only the milled edge version is published. Of the highest rarity and probably unique as Wilson and Rasmussen were not aware of it for their work which consisted of ten years of visits to museum and institutional collections around the country to see what existed.
302 Victoria, Pattern Sovereign, 1887, engraved after William Wyon, third young head left, with double fillet, W.W. in relief on truncation, date below, toothed border and raised rim both sides, VICTORIA DEI GRATIA, rev struck with inverted die axis, engraved after Jean Baptiste Merlen, crowned shield of arms within laurel wreath tied with bow below shield, seven harp strings in Irish arms, left string emanates from scroll, emblems below, small rosette either side, BRITANNIARUM REGINA FID: DEF:, legend lightly doubled, edge milled, 8.05g, 22mm (WR 331 R5, this coin illustrated; DM 217). Brilliant mint state and of the highest rarity.
ex Property of a Nobleman, Spink Auction 120, 9 July 1997, lot 634 – this coin illustrated in Wilson Rasmussen.
1887 is the final year for the young head design upon the coinage, so it seems natural that some young head Sovereigns of proof quality from highly polished dies would be struck as a matter of record for the Mint and probably for presentation to highly important persons, or as suggested in the Douglas Morris catalogue that it could be a trial for a Colonial Sovereign.
313 Victoria, Proof Sovereign, 1880, engraved after William Wyon, young head left of third style, with double fillet, ponytail complete, WW buried in thin truncation in relief, finely toothed border within twin linear concentric