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Lot 30120

Image Information

Type Coin
Title Lot 30120
Date (1594-96)
Country Great Britain
Service Catalog # 754407
Denomination Pound
Description Elizabeth I gold Pound ND, S-2534, North-2008 (scarce), AU Details (Mount Removed) NGC. Tower Mint, 6th Issue (of 1583-1600), 3rd gold Coinage (of 1593-1603), struck in 22ct "crown gold" (of .917 fineness), Woolpack mm (struck 1594-96). A handsome coin despite the obvious spot at 12:00 on the obverse and light tooling on the rim and edge, where a loop probably once existed to suspend this coin as jewelry. There are also some very light abrasions on the queen's face and in the left field. Nonetheless, this remains an appealing example of one of Elizabeth's largest gold coins, valued at 20 shillings when issued, topped in its buying power in its age only by the fine Sovereign of 30 shillings value. But the Sovereign did not show the queen's portrait as this coin does, here well detailed in all facial features, as well as on her crown and elaborate jeweled dress. The reverse is every bit as impressive, with Elizabeth's regal shield sharp in all quadrants, topped by a boldly struck crown and surrounded by a fully struck Latin legend showing no doubling at all, with the "E R" filling in the field around the shield. The mintmark is clear on each side, and annulets are used as stops in the legends (ergo, this is an earlier issue). A few faint ancient scratches show, but these are overwhelmed by the beauty of the design so well impressed in the lustrous gold. On each side, the inner beaded ring is crisp, and the outer ring of beads is almost fully present and quite sharp. These qualities are missing on the majority of gold Pounds of this issue. The color of the gold is a well-set, premium, rich yellow. On the reverse is the famous legend in Latin SCVTVM FIDEI PROTEGET EAM, translating as "The shield of faith shall protect her," seen on coins of both Elizabeth and of her brother, but for Elizabeth it had special import: she was famous for never veering politically from the via media,?the middle way, revealing to no one throughout her long life or reign her personal religious beliefs. The position stood her in good stead in dealing politically with her foreign Catholic enemies, forestalling their animosity when it served her purposes, veiling her ambitions and plans, and allowing her enemies at court no chance to accuse her of either a Catholic or a Protestant bias. Doubtless, Elizabeth fashioned this position in her youth, when she saw firsthand how an untenable religious declaration would end a royal life or imprison for years a royal princess such as her cousin Mary Stuart. The particulars of her faith Elizabeth never revealed-only faith itself, which no Englishman could assault. Enemy and friend alike must have cherished this beautifully made, golden portrait of the English queen. Realized $23,500.00. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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