An extremely rare 1257 gold penny, struck in London, issued under the regime of King Henry III of England was graded as MS 63 by NGC recently. There are just four known examples of the coin and it is among the earliest coins that mark the rebirth of gold coinage in Western Europe.
The Western European kingdoms did not make their own gold coinage before the 13th Century. They instead used Byzantine and various ancient issues. The Republic of Florence issued its Florin in 1252. It was the first Western European gold trade coin in over 600 years. England released the gold penny of Henry III in 1257. It is slightly less than three grams and its weight was equal to that of two silver pennies. The gold penny was set at 20 times the silver penny as per the standards. More than 50,000 pieces were struck in 1257.
The coins were not very popular for commerce and people were asked to exchange the gold coin for silver at 19.5 silver pennies. They were sold for 24 silver pennies in 1265. Because of its heavy redemption, these coins are extremely rare. Just seven examples are known from four die pairs. At least three examples are showcased in museums.
The coin features seated Henry III in robes, wearing a crown and holding an orb and scepter. This symbol was reused later on a large scale. It was for the first time that an enthroned ruler was shown on a Western gold coin. The reverse features the name of goldsmith William of Gloucester, and LUNDEN (or London).
The coin will be offered by Heritage at the Official 2018 New York International Numismatic Convention Auction in January 2018.