Bentley Sets The New Gold Standard For Sovereigns
There was an air of sadness in the room as the final part of the Bentley Collection went under the hammer. The end of an eighteen month journey of auctions, and thirty four years of collecting, did
square shield of arms, quartered with the arms of Hanover as an escutcheon, five strings to Irish harp, crown with eleven jewels on left arch, twelve on right arch, central crown upright with parallel vertical lines of jewels, six to left and seven to right, date 18 16 below arms, legend commences at lower left, BRITTANIARUM REX FID: DEF:, with colon stops, edge plain, 9.67g, 23mm (WR 187 R6, this coin; Montagu 538; Murdoch 181; Douglas-Morris 125; Selig 1167, this coin). Quite hairlined with some tiny blemishes, otherwise practically as struck and of the highest rarity, the plate coin in the Wilson and Rasmussen publication.
ex J G Brooker collection, milled gold collection, sold privately to Spink and Son, c.1970
ex Herman Selig collection (part II), Coins of George III, Spink Auction 131, 2 March 1999, lot 1167
The key features of this early pattern are Wyon’s George III portrait as used and adopted for the silver Shilling, the 13 leaf wreath with 4 leaves at the top, 5 strings to the Irish harp, and the crown on shield with 11/12 pearl arrangement with a 6/7 arrangement on the central vertical.
Lot 940 George III, Proof Sovereign, 1818, engraved by Benedetto Pistrucci, first laureate head right, coarse hair, laurel wreath of 10 leaves, date below, ascending colon after BRITANNIAR, with no lower right serif to first I, no upper serifs to last four letters, lettering clear of raised rim, legend GEORGIUS III D: G: BRITANNIAR: REX F: D:, I of King’s name missing lower right serif, rev struck with inverted die axis, St George on horseback slaying dragon right with broken lance, helmet with flowing streamer, ground-line with BP incuse to left, all within horizontally ruled garter with buckle, W W P incuse on sides of buckle, garter motto HONI. SOIT. QUI. MAL. Y. PENSE., I of HONI missing top left serif, raised rim both sides, edge milled, 7.98g (WR 198 R6; Murdoch 193; Nobleman 49/50; Douglas-Morris 142; S 3785A). Tiny pinhead sized black spot on nape of neck and on temple, some hairlines, otherwise brilliant as struck and extremely rare.
ex Property of Gentleman collection, Spink Auction 117, 19 November 1997, lot 1961
One of the key features of the design of this proof as adopted and engraved for currency by Pistrucci are the wreath of 10 leaves and the date below the bust, coupled with St George slaying the dragon. Some of the letters in the legend lack serifs, no doubt due to blockages or faulty letter punches, with corner serifs broken off, being employed. See the introduction to this catalogue for a discussion about this.
Lot 941 George III Gold Sovereign, 1819, by Benedetto Pistrucci, laureate head right, coarse hair, date below, descending colon after BRITANNIAR: legend GEORGIUS III D: G: BRITANNIAR: REX F: D: rev struck with inverted die axis, St George slaying dragon right with broken lance, groundline with BP incuse to left, all within horizontally ruled