Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Marvin Lessen, an American working in aerospace and defence, began to collect British coins after moving to Scarborough in 1962.

Leading the January 21 sale at £380,000 – a record for a Cromwellian coin – was a gold pattern broad or 50 shilling piece.

The 50 shilling piece (two and a half times the weight of the better-known 20 shilling coin) ranks among the first milled coins. The design showing Cromwell as Lord Protector is by Thomas Simon (c.1618 to 1623-65) with the coins struck on machinery built by the French moneyer and engineer Pierre Blondeau (d.1692).

Only 12 specimens are now known, with most in institutions.