Auction Includes Extremely Rare English Gold Penny Certified by NGC

Posted on 1/8/2021

The Heritage sale of world coins in January includes several NGC-graded rarities expected to realize over $100,000.

An extremely rare English gold penny struck more than 750 years ago and now certified by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®) is the top lot in a Heritage Auctions sale. Bidding is already underway for the world and ancient coins auction being held January 21-22, 2021.

Several NGC-certified coins are expected to realize six figures in the sale, including the (1257) England Gold Penny graded NGC MS 63. It has an estimate of $250,000 to $500,000.

(1257) England Gold Penny graded NGC MS 63
Click images to enlarge

The gold penny shows King Henry III, seated in robes, wearing a crown and holding an orb and scepter. This motif marks the first time an enthroned ruler was shown on a gold coin of medieval Western Europe. The reverse legend includes the name of the King’s goldsmith, William of Gloucester, and LUNDEN (or London), where the coins were struck.

Silver coinage had dominated in Europe for centuries. In 1252, the Republic of Florence issued its Florin, considered to be the first Western European gold trade coin in over 600 years. A short time later, Henry III (well into his 56-year reign at that point) created his own gold issue.

For a variety of reasons, the gold pennies were not embraced in English commerce and the ambitious experiment in coinage failed. Today, just seven examples are known, including four in museum collections. This one weighs 2.95 grams (a little lighter than a modern British penny and a little heavier than a modern US cent, neither of which are struck in gold, of course).

Meanwhile, the auction also holds another gold rarity: a Mexico 1715MO J "Royal" 8 Escudos graded NGC MS 63. Pedigreed to the Isaac Rudman Collection, this coin has an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000.

Originating from a mint in Spanish Mexico, the coin's dies and strike show it is an example of Royal Coinage — which were struck as presentation pieces that are easily distinguishable from the cruder and more common cob 8 Escudos. This particular example is an extremely rare variety.

Mexico 1715MO J "Royal" 8 Escudos graded NGC MS 63 and pedigreed to the Isaac Rudman Collection
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From half a century later, a rare British gold coin is also expected to generate lively bidding. The Great Britain 1768 2 Guineas graded NGC PF 63+ in the sale has an estimate of $150,000 to $200,000.

Great Britain 1768 2 Guineas graded NGC PF 63+ and pedigreed to the Slaney Collection
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Only a few of these pattern coins were produced because such a large denomination was not an ideal use for gold at the time in Great Britain. The coin shows George III, whose 59-year rule was the third longest in British history.

Great Britain's longest-ruling monarchs are Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II, who are both depicted on a valuable modern coin in the sale, a Great Britain 2019 Una and the Lion Gold 2000 Pounds graded NGC PF 69 Ultra Cameo. It has an estimate of $150,000 to $200,000.

Great Britain 2019 Una and the Lion Gold 2000 Pounds graded NGC PF 69 Ultra Cameo and attributed as COA #1
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The coin, struck with 2 kilograms of gold, pays tribute to the iconic 1839 Una and the Lion design created for a young Queen Victoria. The current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, is depicted on the other side. NGC attributed the coin to Certificate of Authenticity #1, from a mintage of only four.

Other NGC-certified highlights include:

All estimates are provided by the auction house in US dollars.

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