Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

On the reverse they have a very very small B always assumed to be for Nicholas Briot the die engraver. But is it? Only recent careful inspection and through a powerful lens is this minute letter revealed to actually be an E for Eboracum, the Latin for York. There is always something new even in the most studied series and it is a tribute to auction cataloguers, besmirched by commerce, to bring minutiae to academic attention. Anyway, it was estimated at £120-140. It made a deserved £180.

Generally acclaimed to be one of the most beautiful coins in the English series is William Wyon’s rendering of the young Queen Victoria as Una and the Lion from Spenser’s Faerie Queen on the 1839 gold five pounds. Actually the design is a scandalous jibe against the Roman Catholic emancipation of the time. There was a nice example in a complete specimen set of the coinage in the sale. It was estimated at £15,000-20,000. It made £25,000 and was bought by Daniel Fearon who has this last year crossed the narrow divide from auctioneer to dealer.

Perhaps one of the most commercially interesting features of this sale was the 85 lots which comprised the library of Angelo Cantera, mainly relating to German medieval coins. Brought over from the States and surely mainly of interest to Germans, they sold consistently well.

The total estimates ranged from £2570 to £3670 and made
a total of £5160. This says something for London as a coin sale venue.