Auction Results

GB-record Petition Crown is $1-million coin


Portrait of coin engraver Thomas Simon

A one-of-16 Petition Crown is now the world’s most valuable British silver coin after realising $1 million (£818,000) at auction. 

The sale of the Cope Collection, one of the best collections of ancient and British coins, brought in nearly £7 million in total. 

Among Geoffrey Cope’s famous collection, sold after his death, the Petition Crown was known as one of the jewels of world coin collecting. 

All the others are believed to be currently in private hands or museum collections. 

The crowns were made to “petition” King Charles II for work in 1663.

Engraver Thomas Simon produced the highly detailed coins to support his application to replace the Roettiers brothers as sole engraver for the Royal Mint. 

Simon’s name is clearly and beautifully signed on what most call his masterwork. He probably died in the plague just a couple of years later.

He wrote his plea – “compare this his tryall piece with the Dutch” – around the edge of the coin on a new coin making machine. 

Only 16 of the coins are known to survive. 

David Guest, of auctioneers Classical Numismatic Group, said: “Widely regarded as the most beautiful machine-made coin ever struck and undoubtedly the most important coin in the British series, we are delighted to have seen the 1663 Petition Crown realise a world record price.

“The overwhelming success of the sale of the Cope collection further underlines the confidence in the market for superb and rare British coins.”

The coin was graded 63+ for condition, making it the highest-rated Petition Crown that has been graded. 

The coins were regarded as special and collectible as soon as Simon produced them. They were selling as early as 1742, and have regularly set records for their type. 

The Cope Collection sale also yielded a £382,798 Oxford Crown from 1644. Probably one of three not in museum collections. 

A King Henry VII Testoon from 1544 made £100,819, another record for type.

The market for coins is strong. The most valuable British coin, an Edward VIII trail sovereign, sold for £1 million in 2020. A US 1933 double eagle became the most valuable coin ever sold at auction, in 2021, when it realised $18.9 million in New York. 

Economic and political instability can make rare, valuable, highly portable (and hard to seize, impound or sanction) assets desirable to high-net-worth buyers. This attracts money into the market, pushing prices up.

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