Almost 52,000 King Henry III gold pennies were struck almost 800 years ago with a big banking error where its value was less than the value of gold it contained. It was the first English gold coin to be withdrawn due to a banking error. One of these coins is going to be auctioned with an estimated value of £500,000 on 8th January.
The holders could get more money by melting these coins, which is why they were withdrawn. Almost all these error coins were smelted and replaced with pennies with the right weight in 1257.
There are only eight surviving examples of the coin today. Three of them are with institutions. One of the three in private hands has been put up for auction. The anonymous collector owned it for 21 years. Experts believe that they were the first gold coins made in England.
King Henry III introduced the coin to match the Ducat coin which was more popular in mainland Europe. The coins were to be struck at twice the weight of a silver penny. The coins had a standard weight of 3.5 grams but due to the error, it weighed 4.2 grams.
The coin’s obverse features a seated King Henry, wearing robes, holding a scepter in his right hand and an orb in his left. A long cross and the name Willem on LVND is featured on the reverse. William of Gloucester was the King's goldsmith who was responsible for the error.