||James VI gold 80-Shillings 1592, S-5457, MS62 NGC. 6th Coinage, gold issue. Known as the "Hat Piece" from its design showing King James facing to right wearing a tall, presumably fine-fur hat, this 22ct fine gold coin was struck for three years only (1591-93). One of the favored Scots coins of collectors worldwide, this type is most often seen somewhat impaired, often damaged, and typically uneven in strike -- but not here! On this gorgeous specimen, the flan is broad and of superior quality, crinkled only very slightly; the king's portrait is essentially fully struck, and his royal title is bold, ending with a cinquefoil. Considerable luster, beautifully toned, focuses the keen eye to the king's beautiful hat, his crisp beard, the curls of his hair protruding beneath the hat's brim, and his piercing eye. Behind him appears an evanescent thistle, seeming to bloom from the open golden field. Every bit as enticing is the crowned lion on the reverse, seated upon a throne to the left and holding a sceptre that seems to pierce the heavens above. From these heavens comes the word "Jehovah" in Hebrew letters, surrounded by two sharply beaded borders within which is enclosed the Latin legend TE SOLVM VEREOR ("Thee alone do I fear!"), and the date 1592, finalized by a cinquefoil. All of these features are exceptionally sharp on this specimen, which is imperfect only due to a bit of ancient rub in the golden frost of the central left reverse field, clearly caused by the crinkle in the metal (as struck), as well as a few very faint scratches on the reverse field. This is the finest example seen by this cataloguer in some 35 years. Valued in its day at four pounds, a large sum, this type lasted just three years. It came into existence principally so that a consistent, high-denomination piece of money of precious content could be used to buy back what Ian Stewart called a "muddle" of older coins of a confusing variety of values -- "literally a score of different denominations" which had suffered clipping, shaving, damage, and on and on until their value was not trusted in commerce. Only the one-year Thistle Noble was spared the recall. Into the moneyers' pots went an untold treasure of gold Crowns, Ducats, Unicorns, Eagle Crowns, Lions, Riders and who knows what other now-rare gold, from Scotland and abroad, and in their place, for just three years, came the shining new Hat Pieces -- until they too perished as history passed them by. Ex: ?Colonel? E.H.R. Green; Green Estate? Partnership of Eric P Newman / B.G. Johnson.
Realized $55,812.50. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.