The Edward VIII proof pattern £5, sold for €1.76m (£1.48m) in Monaco this month had sold for $1.9m (£1.39m) at Heritage Auctions in Dallas in March.
The gold coin is the largest denomination from the fabled 1937 ‘abdication’ set. Other specimens are in the Royal Collection, the Royal Mint and the British Museum but this is one of just two in private hands: another forms part of the proof set in the Tyrant collection, a US private collection that boasts every coin denomination issued by English monarchs since the early 7th century.
The coin offered for sale by Monnaies de Collection (MDC) in Monaco is in fabulous condition, designated ‘ultra cameo’. When sold in March as part of the so-called Paramount Collection it had cost a total of $2.28m (£1.67m) with 20% fees.
On October 21 the price including buyer’s premium (again 20%) equated to €2.11m (£1.78m/$2.46m).
The Edward VIII proof pattern £5 was one of more than 20 coins from Paramount that were acquired by an MDC client and quickly ‘flipped’ in Monte Carlo. In a city synonymous with a gamble, all were reoffered with reserves in Euros close to the hammer prices they had brought in dollars.
Three superbly preserved British gold five guinea pieces, each the highest graded examples of their type, were ex-Paramount. A George II five guineas proof from 1731 took €500,000/£427,500 or €600,000/£512,800 with premium, while a Charles II five guineas from 1679 took €100,000/$120,000 or £85,500/£102,500. They had previously sold for premium-inclusive sums of $660,000/£481,800 and $120,000/£87,600 respectively.
A 1693 William and Mary Five Guineas in ‘proof-like’ condition that had sold for a total of $336,000 in Dallas was unsold with the opening bid set at €250,000 in Monaco.
Allowing for the vagaries of exchange rates and the fees involved, buying and selling across a matter of months was not necessarily a lucrative trade for MDC’s client. However, the overall impression is of a strong market for the best-preserved gold and silver issues.
The record for a British coin has been broken on several occasions in recent years.
While no Edward VIII £5 had come to auction in recent memory, a 1937 pattern sovereign was hammered for £430,000 in May 2014 at AH Baldwin and resold in January 2020 for £1m in a private deal brokered by the Royal Mint.
The previous auction high for a British coin was set by two issues sold by MDC in October 2020. Exceptional examples of the 1831 George IV five sovereign piece and the 1839 Una and the Lion £5 pattern – both the highest-graded examples of their type – took €820,000 (£745,000) each.
They in turn beat a 1703 Vigo five guineas sold in New York in 2019 for $900,000 (£703,000) by Baldwin’s of St James’s.
£1 = €1.17/$1.38