Auction Results

Record $0.96 million sale for Charles II coin


Engraving of both sides of a Charles II Petition Coin.
Image from Wikipedia by Gregory Edmund.

A Charles II “Petition” Crown realised $960,000 at auction in January. The sale was a record for the coin type and for any British silver coin.

This is the 360th anniversary of the engraving of the extraordinary Petition Crowns. The Royal Mint are issuing special commemoratives to mark it. Historic milestones are always good for sellers. But, Petition Crowns are a breed apart on coin collecting circles.

The profile of Charles II from a Petition Coin sold by Heritage Auctions in January. Image courtesy Heritage Auctions.

The Petition Crowns were made by Thomas Simon, probably the greatest engraver and medalist of his age. Simon failed to submit a design to the competition for the first issue of entirely machine made coinage during the reign of Charles II. As a result, his great rivals, the Roettiers brothers won the contest by default.

Simon then made the Petition Crowns and sent them directly to Charles in an attempt to get his design accepted. His petition – THOMAS SIMON MOST HVMBLY PRAYS YOVR MAJESTY TO COMPARE THIS HIS TRYALL PIECE WITH THE DVTCH AND IF MORE TRVLY DRAWN & EMBOSS’D MORE GRACE; FVLLY ORDER’D AND MORE ACCURATELY ENGRAVEN TO RELEIVE HIM – was engraved around the edge of the coins. An extraordinary feat.

Fewer than 20 of these coins are known to survive – experts reckon that as few as 16 may have been struck. Seven are in museums or institutions. In 2018, five were known to be in private hands.

They are extremely highly sought after; one sold for £207,100 (around $420,000) in 2007, a record for a British silver crown at the time. In 2018, one raised $649,000 at sale in New York.

This coin carries the third highest rating for condition of known, graded examples (of which there are only four). It is a “Mint State” coin, rated 62 on the 70-stage NGC Coin Grading Scale. Two other examples are tied at 63.

This was the top lot in a sale that realised around $16 million and featured several other record breakers and very rare sales.

A Henry III gold Penny of 20 Pence, one of just four known examples, was sold for $504,000. An Anne gold 5 Guineas coin set a record of over $400,000 that doubled its estimate.

Romanian, Russian and Dutch coins all reached dollar sale prices in the hundreds of thousands in the sale.

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