Extremely Rare 1820 Pattern Five Pounds from The Thos. H. Law Collection highlights transitional reign.
Last week we highlighted lot 1003, an extremely rare 1773 pattern 5 Guineas and we noted that no circulation strike coins of that denomination were struck during George III’s reign. George III’s time on the throne saw many changes in British history; important to numismatics, the transition from Guinea to Sovereign coinage began, and the largest size coins under both systems were both only issued as patterns in very limited numbers.
This week, we highlight a wonderful proof Pattern 5 Pounds dated 1820, the first year of this large sized gold coin, and the final year of George’s 60-year reign. Cataloged as Seaby-3783, Friedberg-369, Krause Mishler Pattern-84, Wilson & Rasmussen-177 (R-4), and is NGC-graded as Proof-61 Cameo. A large-sized, right facing laureate bust of George III by Pistrucci dominates the obverse, with intricately engraved coarse hair details and fierce facial features. The reverse depicts Benedetto Pistrucci’s famous rendition of St. George slaying the dragon with plain fields. From a reported mintage of a mere 25 pieces, this example shows numerous light hairlines and other marks that limit the numerical grade. The cameo contrast causes the design to appear to float off the surface of the coin.
Mr. Law acquired this rarity from Duggan at the 1981 American Numismatic Association Convention. Like the other coins in this sale from the Thos. H. Law Collection, this coin is being sold on behalf of his alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin. As noted previously, if the results from our offering of the core Thos. H. Law Collection at the 2013 ANA sale were any indication, this coin should realize an amazing price. The last example we can find was in a British auction in 2004, which realized 38,000 pounds hammer. For the astute collector of British rarities, this is surely a trophy coin that will grace the next cabinet as nicely as it did for Mr. Law. If you anticipate bidding on this coin, be sure to view it in person, and prepare to bid liberally for it.
On behalf of all of us here at Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio, if you have any questions about this, or any other lot in our official NYINC auction sale, be sure to contact one of our numismatic experts. If you are not currently on our mailing list and would like to receive the catalog for this important numismatic event, contact one of our auction services associates. High-resolution images of this and all single coin lots are available at the newly redesigned www.stacksbowers.com. Refer to our website or catalog for full lot viewing times in our Irvine and New York offices, as well as at the NYINC at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Finally, if you have rare international coins that you would like to consign, we are currently seeking consignments for our August 2014 Official Auction of the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money. To consign, contact your favorite consignment director before May 15.