A Dorrien Magens shilling featuring a portrait of King George III, issued in 1798 is going to be offered by Sovereign Rarities on 25th September in London. It was issued as currency, unlike other collector coins that were issued during this time. The state was falling short of silver due to Napoleonic Wars. The mint asked bankers to supply their own silver and paid 62 shillings for one pound of silver in weight.
During the early months of 1798, the market value of silver declined to 60 shillings per pound, which made the deal profitable. Bankers made the most of this opportunity by offering 9,895 pounds of silver in batches in next few months, and 600,000 shillings were produced.
Magens Dorrien-Magens was a partner of the banking firm Dorrien-Magens, Mello, Martin and Harrison. He was one of the bankers who offered silver to the mint. The production of coins stopped and they were banned. Almost half of the silver by weight was unassayed. Payment for the metal continued for a few months, even though coins were not produced.
Almost 34,000 shillings were struck, but almost all of them were melted into silver bars and sent to the Bank of England in 12 months. Almost 285 coins escaped the furnace, out of which about 20 examples exist. 8 out of the 20 known examples are showcased in museums and institutions.
The offered coin features an even toning and a small mark on the cheek with hairlines. It is graded Good Extremely Fine by the auction house and has an estimate of £15,000 to £20,000.
Image Courtesy: Sovereign Rarities