First issue sovereign issued between 1559-60 depicting Elizabeth I – £140,000 at Dix Noonan Webb.

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The George Holloway Collection of Fine Sovereigns of Elizabeth I comprised examples of the largest coin produced during Elizabeth’s reign and the collection was thought to be about a 10th of the total number of specimens still in existence.

The premium-inclusive total for the auction on November 17 was £1,640,520 against a pre-sale estimate of £800,000.

Holloway, who lived in the East Midlands, collected these coins over a 60-year period and the collection was sold by his family.

Peter Preston-Morley, head of the coin department at DNW, said: “The sale was a phenomenal success and brought a hammer price that was over £500,000 more than we were expecting. Twenty-seven online bidders competed with a full room of buyers, with virtually everything being bought by people based in the UK, including all the top-priced coins.

“It remains a great testament to a dedicated student collector, who trawled auction catalogues and dealers’ lists from all over the world over almost 60 years in his quest for these magisterial coins.”

Three lots made six-figure sums. A first-issue sovereign from 1559-60 depicting the queen seated on an ornamented throne holding an orb and sceptre on one side and the royal arms in the centre of a Tudor rose on the other, was one of only eight known to exist.

With a provenance stretching back to two Sotheby’s auctions in 1886 and 1896, it sold for a hammer price of £140,000 against an estimate of £60,000-80,000.

From the second issue was another depicting the queen in a similar pose, which was one of 18 known, and also sold for £140,000 (guide £40,000-50,000), while a later second-issue coin dating from 1592-93 and one of nine known made £110,000 against an estimate of £30,000-40,000.

Another second-issue example from 1585-87 realised £95,000 (estimate £30,000-40,000) and from the same dates another sovereign realised £90,000 (£30,000-40,000).