Elizabeth I Ship Ryal, estimated at £40,000-60,000 at Spink.

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Assuming it opens at the Biltmore Hotel in Mayfair on September 24-25 (and these days there can be no guarantees), Coinex will become the first major indoor ‘antiques’ fair to be held in London since March 2020*.

It is the face-to-face discussions between dealers, auctioneers and collectors that have been missing in the past 18 months. Fingers crossed, that is now beginning to change.

An event with more than 40 years of history, Coinex is organised by the British Numismatic Trade organisation for its members and other guests.

A total of 43 exhibitors (around half the normal number) are named for this outing with the cream of the UK numismatics trade turning out alongside European dealerships and auction houses.

Complementary auctions are planned by many of London’s specialist firms including Spink, Roma Numismatics, DNW, Sovereign Rarities, newcomer Harmers plus Baldwin’s and St James’s Auctions that, having joined forces in 2019, are separate entities once more.

Plenty has happened since the last Coinex both inside and outside the trade. Huge amounts of numismatic business moved online during the pandemic with demand continuing to outstrip supply for rare coins with a high condition grading.

A whole series of coin auction landmarks have been set recently including records for: the most expensive British coin (an Edward VIII proof pattern £5 for $1.9m/£1.39m at Heritage Auctions in April); the most expensive classical coin (a Brutus Eid Mar-type gold aureus – £2.7m at Roma Numismatics in November 2020); and the most expensive coin ever sold (the 1933 Double Eagle 20-dollar coin – $16.75m/£11.88m at Sotheby’s New York in June).

Coinex opens at 1pm on September 24 with ‘Bourse Rights’ and an admission fee of £30. The following day admission is £5.

*The London Coin Fair was held in July, with another scheduled for September 4.

Post-war riches revealed

Among the sales taking place during Coinex week, on September 28 Spink will offer coins from one of the ‘lost’ parcels of Alderman Horace Hird (1899-1973), former president of the Yorkshire Numismatic Society.

These 52 coins, unseen since at least 1960 and literally untouched by his descendants, provide a glimpse into the numismatic riches available to that market in post-war Britain.

Spink’s offering includes a series of Elizabethan and Jacobean gold ryals, one of the rarest denominations of the period. This Elizabeth I Ship Ryal had a value when issued of 15 shillings when it was struck at the Tower of London around June 1587.

It depicts the queen standing in a Tudor warship with a Latin legend that translates as Elizabeth by the grace of God, Queen of England, France and Ireland, and on the reverse But Jesus, passing through the midst of them, went His way.

The denomination, minted specifically for trade with Europe in the shadow of a Spanish invasion, represents one of the last coins struck in the medieval design styled with full Lombardic lettering. Spink describes this as the only example in private hands and accordingly unique to commerce.

During Coinex week Spink will also sell the third and fourth parts of the Tony Abramson collection of Dark Age coins on September 28 and 30, either side of a mixed-vendor sale of British and World Coins (September 29).