||James V gold Crown ND, S-5370, MS64 NGC. 2nd Coinage of 1526-39, shield with rounded base and trefoil stops (type III). Clearly a beautiful coin meriting the numerical grade assigned, it is struck on a full flan of sound metal, with remarkably fine legends and inner devices. The "XX" (standing for 20 shillings) is really sharp. Considerable outer beading appears on each side, and the reverse is slightly off center; essentially blemish-free surfaces delight the eye. The reverse is especially captivating with its thoughtfully conceived cross consisting of a large fleur-de-lis at the end of each bar of the cross centered by a large quatrefoil comprised of four annulets, and a Scottish thistle-head occupying the open field in each angle of the cross. Unusually deft is the surrounding Latin legend CRVSIS ARMA SEQVAMVR, ("Let us follow the arms of the cross.") This is separated by a trefoil before each word and ends with a small crown mark. Struck at the recently opened mint at Holyrood for the teenaged king as he began to feel the power of kingship, this is a majestic coin in various ways. James's first years on the Scottish throne were dominated by Queen Margaret, as James inherited his titles at the age of one. What he inherited in the treasury was an odd mixture of coins of all sorts of denominations: mostly silver pieces struck by his father that were essentially copies of English Groats and fractions, along with billon Placks and Pennies, many from his father's mint at Edinburgh, but a mass of earlier, worn coins too. James IV's gold was rare then as it is now, the earlier Unicorns worth 18 shillings having largely perished upon the issue of the gold Lion, or Crown, worth about 13 shillings. It is not an overstatement to say that the bulk of earlier kings' gold coins were melted and turned into new gold for a succession of monarchs. The same apparently happened to silver issues; Ian Stewart notes that by 1521, silver coins were rarely seen in Scottish commerce. The problem seems not so much to have been an absolute lack of specie, gold or silver, as it was one of hoarding as well as of the king's men finding contract minters who could be trusted. This was resolved in 1526-27. The new silver consisted mainly of Groats showing the monarch facing right, while the gold had no portrait, showing the royal shield opposed by the elaborate cross fleury?seen on the coin in this lot. The earlier legend on this so-called Abbey Crown, in Latin, PER LIGNVM CRVSIS SALVI SVMVS ("We are saved through the wood of the cross"), very quickly was replaced by the legend displayed on the present coin. Silver Groats featured the crowned shield on their reverse, which became of obverse design of the gold Crowns. Only the gold is decorated with the imagistic cross. For ten years, these two denominations dominated commerce in Scotland, and then just as suddenly as they had appeared, they ceased to be minted in 1539, and vanished. In their place as money, but not as artistic coins of much intrinsic value, came forth a host of billon Bawbees. Doubtless, we have the Scottish hoarders to thank for the existence today of any of the beautiful Abbey Crowns in gold. Ex: ?Colonel? E.H.R. Green; Green Estate? Partnership of Eric P Newman / B.G. Johnson.
Realized $22,325.00. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.