Edward III Double Leopard
London - England's first large gold coin, the Edward III (1341-1343) Double Leopard, came up for sale today at Spink in London. The coin sold for a staggering ?460,000 (US$841,800), against a pre-sale estimate of ?100,000-150,000, making it the most expensive English Coin ever sold.
30 June 2006
Noble Investments (UK) Plc is delighted to announce that its wholly owned subsidiary, A H Baldwin & Sons Ltd, purchased on behalf of Avarae Global Coins Plc, the Edward III Double Leopard or Double Florin. The coin is one of the most important English coins to come up for sale in the last 100 years and was bought for ?470,500, a new English record. Only two other examples are known, both found in 1854 and now form part of the collection held at The British Museum. This example is therefore the only one available in commerce.
London - England's first large gold coin, the Edward III (1341-1343) Double Leopard, came up for sale today at Spink in London. The coin sold for a staggering �460,000 (US$841,800), against a pre-sale estimate of ?100,000-150,000, making it the most expensive English Coin ever sold.
Bidders crowded the room to see history made in the auction world as the estimate was doubled then tripled and continued to climb in price. Towards the end two bidders were left in the fight for the coin, one in the room and one on the phone. At ?390,000 a new bidder appeared and the coin received open applause from the room when he purchased the Double Leopard for a hammer price of ?400,000.
"We knew that there would be huge interest", said Jeremy Cheek of Spink Auctions, "but this surpassed all our expectations".
Spink is the leading auction house for record prices of coins. It is in the privileged situation to have sold seven of the top ten coins auctioned over the years, including the top two.
History of the Coin
This coin is the third known specimen of its kind. The two other examples, found in the bed of the river Tyne in 1857, are now both in the British Museum. No other specimens were known until this coin was discovered and dug up earlier this year by a metal detectorist in the south of England. This is therefore the only example in private hands. It is a slightly different variety to either of those in the British Museum.
The finder was working with the permission of the landowner who has a joint interest in the coin - the proceeds of the sale will be divided between them. In order to protect the site the find spot is not being disclosed.
The Gold Double Florin, authorised on 14 December 1343, was to circulate at a value of six-shillings. The first coins were struck in early 1344, but the coinage was not a success. The Double Florin was replaced by the Gold Noble, authorised on 9 July 1344, and therefore this magnificent coin was only legal tender for a brief seven months.
The obverse shows a full length portrait of Edward III enthroned beneath a Gothic portico. The King is crowned and holds an orb and sceptre. Two crowned Leopards sit at either side, and the surrounding fields are decorated with fleur de lis. The reverse is filled by a floriate cross with crowns at the four points, within a quadrilobe with four Leopards in the angles.
The Double Florin was the first large gold coin of England. It was intended primarily for foreign trade. The denomination was based on the gold Florin of Florence, and the design was derived from a French gold coin ("masse d'or") of Philip IV of France
Edward's issue of large gold coins was emblematic of the might of England during
his reign (1327-77). Edward ruled not only England but also much of France which he
claimed through his mother Isabella, daughter of Philip IV. It was Edward's brilliant son, the Black Prince, who secured English interests on the continent with his stunning victories at Poitiers and Crecy.
Recent Records Set by Spink:
2003 - Charles II Pattern Crown sold for ?138,000
2004 - Coenwulf Gold Penny sold for ?230,000
2005 - Queen Anne Vigo Five Guineas sold for ?149,500
2006 - Edward III Double Leopard sold for ?460,000
Spink is the world's leading auctioneer of coins, stamps, medals and banknotes. Since its foundation in 1666, the Spink name has become synonymous with tradition, experience and integrity. Holders of three royal warrants and numerous records for prices achieved at auction, Spink offer an unparalleled range of services to collectors worldwide.
Full credits for article and photo go to Spink