Al That Glitters is gold As the Great British summer and all the Olympic celebrations draw to a close Baldwin’s will be busily preparing to sell part two of the landmark Bentley Collection, the ultimate collection of British
News-Antique.com - Jul 19,2012 - As the Great British summer and all the Olympic celebrations draw to a close Baldwin’s will be busily preparing to sell part two of the landmark Bentley Collection, the ultimate collection of British gold Sovereigns. Due to be held on the 27th September in London the second part of the collection will comprise approximately 540 Sovereigns (the largest part) including the most complete date runs of all the colonial mints. Part two of this staggering collection contains some of the rarest of all the colonial mint sovereigns including the key coin in the collection, the fabled 1920 Sydney mint sovereign.
The collector began the collection with the prime focus of attaining a complete date run of the London mint series but, quickly began to develop an interest in the colonial mint issues. Sovereigns that carry a small letter either under the bust or shield, or on the ground-line under St. George are colonial issues and the type of letter denotes which mint the coin derives from. His interest awakened, the collector proceeded on a quest to find and purchase as many coins as he could from the Sydney, Melbourne and Perth mints in Australia; the Ottowa mint in Canada; Bombay in India and the Pretoria mint in South Africa. In keeping with the rest of this collection only the finest examples of the coins were obtained by a collector with a keen eye for quality.
The 1920 sovereign is one of the rarest Australian coins ever to be auctioned and is one of only four known to exist. Most specimens are housed in institutions and so this auction offers a very rare opportunity to own one of the worlds’ most sought after coins. Estimated to sell for between £300,000 and £400,000 this piece was sold to the vendor at public auction in 2006 for the then record of AUD$582,500. Although Mint record shows 360,000 Sovereigns were struck in the year 1920 it is a matter of conjecture as to how many were actually dated 1920 and, therefore, why so few remain. Some believe that many must have been melted down; others think that 1919 dated coins are included in this calendar mintage figure. Either way it wasn’t until the second half of the 20th century that collectors began to discover how rare the coin was. Strong pre-sale interest from the Australian market could likely see this piece go back to the homeland.
Of the 540 lots in this sale, 250 were minted in Australia and include a complete date run of 115 Sydney mint coins, every year that they were active (1855-1926) is covered. The most interesting of all the lots is the Adelaide token. The one included in this collection is the 1852 type 2 engraved by Joshua Payne. In the 1840’s there was very little cash in Australia and the population of 50,000 people were forced to trade in gold dust. Pressure was mounting to establish a mint and begin production of coinage. His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor