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Lot 30115

Image Information

Type Coin
Title Lot 30115
Date -1551
Country Great Britain
Service Catalog # 766730
Denomination 1/2 Sovereign
Description Edward VI gold Half Sovereign ND, S-2438, North-1908 (rare), VF30 NGC. Crowned bust, 2nd Period (January 1549 to December 1550), Southwark mint, "y" and "Y" mm on obv. and rev. (mintmark used 1549-51). Evenly worn as indicated by the grading service but well detailed, showing all the important features of young Edward's portrait and his regal shield on reverse. The legends are unusually clear and complete, and the broad flan is slightly crinkled but with much of the rim beading in evidence. Toned in pleasing shades of golden amber. The gold alloy used at this time was 22ct, or .917 pure, therefore of high value but also soft, meaning that misshapen or bent or crinkled flans became the norm. The excellent intrinsic value of the gold coinage of Edward VI was in large measure a response to the debased coinage prevalent at the end of his father's reign. The treasury had to pay the debts from Henry's extravagant foreign adventures with money that could be trusted abroad. It is likely, then, that a majority of his son's gold was exported for this purpose, which more than explains its general rarity today: It was received by foreign treasuries, then melted for their own mints. The Southwark mint, located across the Thames from the main mint inside the Tower of London's walls, operated for this purpose, using variants on the "Y" mintmark (this coin shows both varieties) until it closed in August of 1551. The sequences of issue during this period remain unresolved and it is likely that the present coin, bearing as it does the mint or initial mark of Sir John York, was in fact minted during the transition period, a matter of months from 1550 into 1551. This specimen retains an excellent look and enjoys a wonderful provenance. Realized $6,168.75. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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