We continue our recap of the January New York International Auction hosted by Stack’s Bowers by revisiting one of the early highlights featured on this blog. The glorious Spur-Ryal of James I brought strong results at the auction podium, realizing $80,000 and exceeding our high estimate by $10,000. The final results reaffirm the desirable nature of this piece, and we congratulate the collector who persevered in acquiring it.
Ascending the Scottish throne at the tender age of 13 months, James would also go on to succeed Elizabeth I to the English throne, effectively making him the first monarch of the “United Kingdom,” though that name would not be adopted until 1800. One could arguably say James I put the "Great" in Great Britain, having unified the kingdom throughout the British Isles as well as overseeing the emergence of Britain as a global empire. The settlements at Jamestown, Plymouth Colony, and Newfoundland were among the many accomplishments achieved under his rule. The coin offered here can be seen as a by-product of his success as a leader, having not only steered Britain clear of the disastrous Thirty Years War, but also expanding international commerce drawing copious amounts of the new world’s gold into British coffers.
Featured is an imposing and regal facing sejant lion holding a scepter with broad quartered square atop shield (including the Rampant Lion of Scotland and the Irish Harp) in the fore, flanked by “X” and “V” (denoting the value of 15 Shillings). The reverse design includes a spur rowel, small rose at center, encircled by a ring of alternating crowned lis and lions, all within a beaded treasure of eight arches. This coin combines great rarity with numismatic and historical significance, and is phenomenally well preserved as well. Having been struck in nearly pure gold, the piece is free of toning or other color anomalies. It is well struck from what appear to be fresh dies and the degree of detail is impressive, with bold legends surrounding exquisitely rendered devices. A stellar piece in every respect.
Though our Stack’s Bowers January New York International Auction is now history, we are accepting consignments of world and ancient coins for our August 2016 ANA Auction as well as Chinese and other Asian coins and currency for our April 2016 Hong Kong Showcase Auction. Time is running short, so if you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our consignment directors.