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
slightly double struck, rosette either side, fine toothed border and high raised rim both sides, VICTORIA DEI GRATIA more widely spaced from 8 to 4 o’clock, rev struck with inverted die axis, engraved by Jean Baptiste Merlen, crowned quartered narrow shield of arms within laurel wreath tied with bow below shield, twelve pearls on each arch of crown, four pearls vertically arranged on central upright, nine pellets visible on ermine below jewel band, laurel wreath each side consists of 30 leaves per side and terminates in three leaves at top, six harp strings in Irish arms, left string emanates from back of female figure, emblems below, rose at centre, thistle to left, shamrock to right, small rosette either side, BRITANNIARUM REGINA FID: DEF: edge, plain, weight, 7.71g, diameter 21.8mm (WR 298 R6; Montagu 1565; Murdoch 500; Douglas-Morris 200). Lightly toned with light hairlines, tiny rim imperfection on reverse, otherwise good extremely fine and extremely rare.
For a narrative on the initial pattern and currency Sovereign of Victoria’s reign see Bentley Collection part one lots 33-35 and preamble.
This is considered to be the second obverse for the proposed pattern Sovereign for young Queen Victoria for which she granted William Wyon multiple portrait sittings.
Lot 1017 Victoria, Gold Sovereign, 1863, numbers 827 in relief on truncation meets field, second larger young head left, date below, sharper more hooked incomplete open 6, doubled date especially 8, legend lightly doubled with last I flawed to rim, rev crowned quartered shield of arms within laurel wreath tied with bow below shield, no die number below, emblems below, 7.99g (Marsh 48A R5; MCE 524; S 3853A). Very light surface marks and scuffs, about very fine, better than usually encountered for this great rarity, extremely rare.
ex Randy Weir Numismatics, Unionville, Ontario, Canada, purchased 28 June 1993
The intriguing “827”variety first came to light in 1954 when an 827 numbered truncation with die number 22 reverse appeared in the Hatton Hoard of gold found in Derbyshire. This initial coin ended up in the British Museum Collection.
The variety here is termed the “first” variety of the “827” Sovereign without a die number on the reverse. The “second” die number 22 variety was sold in part one of the Bentley Collection for £11,000 hammer.
These first variety 827 die number Sovereigns are thought to have been produced and struck from a first batch of re-melted “scissel” and scrap emanating from some Rothschild brittle ingots delivered to the Mint circa November-December 1863. Of the very few specimens known, the Bentley specimen is amongst the finer.
For further reading about the 827 Sovereigns see Spink Numismatic Circular, October 1977, page 421, article by G P Dyer.
Lot 1211 Victoria, Pattern Sovereign, 1870, engraved after William Wyon, second larger young head left, with double fillet, WW in relief without stops on truncation, date below, toothed border both sides, VICTORIA DEI GRATIA, some light doubling of legend, rev inverted die axis, mule with