Rare Gold Half-sovereign of Edward VI to be Auctioned

2019-09-10 Tue

On 24th September, Sovereign Rarities and the Royal Mint are going to auction a rare gold half- sovereign (10 shillings) issued by Edward VI. The auction event will take place in London, and the coin will be offered for an estimated value of £6,000 to £8,000. Instead of maintaining the earlier standard of .9167 fine gold, the offered coin was struck in .8333 fine gold from 1547 to 1551 at Southwark Mint. It depicts a portrait of young Edward VI in a sitting position. It also depicts an E mark which is the initial letter of the treasurer’s surname at Southwark Mint, Sir John York in Latin, Eboraci. Gold coins worth £153,285 were issued with this mark. Coins issued after Henry VIII’s death can be identified by the slight variations in calligraphy, punctuation, and mint marks. Ira and Larry Goldberg had sold the same coin on 19th September 2005 for $3,335. The auction house mentions that the strike is weak in certain areas. Otherwise, it’s in Very Fine condition.

After Henry VIII’s death, Edward VI did not want to release coins with his portrait under his name. Coins were debased extensively during Henry VIII’s reign to support the king’s lavish lifestyle. The precious metal value of both silver, as well as gold coins, was downgraded. There was a good demand for gold and a lot of coins had to be issued after the king’s death. The mints at the Tower of London and Southwark started striking new coins. Southwark Mint was set up in September 1545. Coins featuring Edward VI’s name followed the earlier gold standard of .9167 fineness for half sovereigns. In August 1551, Southwark Mint stopped striking any more coins.

Image Courtesy: Sovereign Rarities and the Royal Mint