The enamelled gold oval memorial ring for Charles I (1600-49) had been offered at Gorringe’s in December 2019 with an estimate of £7000-9000 but failed to sell.
This time, included in Hansons’ Historica, Coins and Antiquities auction in Etwall, Derbyshire, on August 26, it was hammered down at £9400 (plus 30% buyer’s premium inc VAT), just shy of the £10,000-12,000 estimate.
Adam Staples, consultant valuer at Hansons, said: “It’s part of a series of mourning jewellery to commemorate Charles’ death. Some of these pieces were commissioned by Charles himself, while awaiting his death, to be given to loved ones and loyal supporters.
“It’s known that he divided his personal jewels among his children when they paid him their final visit.”
The hand-painted enamel portrait of the king against a lilac ground is thought to have been copied from the famous 1633 oil by Anthony van Dyck.
The inside of the ring bears the engraving Martyr Populi (the people’s martyr) while the reverse is painted with a skull motif, with the inscription Jn 30 1648.
Many memorials mark the regicide in this way. Staples adds: “During the 17th century the new year began in March. So December 1648 was followed by January 1648, and many contemporary memorials, including the king’s coffin, record the date of Charles’ death as 1648.”
The ring was making its fourth appearance at auction in recent memory.
Sold at Christie’s South Kensington in 1997, it was offered again in 2016 as part of the collection of David Gainsborough Roberts when it made £5500.