||George II Shilling 1745-LIMA, S-3703, Old Laureate Head, MS64 NGC. A beautiful Gem of a shilling having a bold, even strike, fabulous surfaces, and bright grayish blue toning with golden iridescent hues, the famous hallmark under the king's portrait as bold as can be. Struck from silver specie captured on his around-the-world journey by Admiral of the Fleet George Anson: the famed "Manila galleon" had eluded him from the time he set out with six ships in September 1740 from St. Helens and was battered rounding Cape Horn, losing all but one ship and many of his crew. After refitting and some months of rest, Anson and his remaining crew set out again, finally locating and capturing the great Spanish treasure galleon on June 20, 1743. With both the ship and its treasure as prizes, he aimed to return home to England. This time, he rounded the Cape of Good Hope without loss, and he sailed into Spithead, where he anchored safely almost exactly a year later, on June 15, 1744. The treasure amounted to more than half a million pounds' sterling in value. It was offloaded at Portsmouth and greeted by cheering crowds who lined the roads as 32 wagons of specie tracked back to London, with bands playing along the way. The booty was delivered to the Royal Mint, and Britain's ancient enemy was jeered in metal when this hallmark appeared in 1745. A few years later, Anson was promoted to First Lord of the Admiralty; for the duration of the Seven Years' War, Anson guided the Royal Navy's battles against the French and Spanish. The Lima treasure no doubt helped to fund the war, out of which Great Britain emerged in 1763 as the most influential of the world's colonial powers. Few LIMA-hallmarked coins survived their day in the fabulous condition seen on this shilling, which clearly was saved at issue.
Realized $1,527.50. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.