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1819 Sovereign Rounds Out Bentley Collection
By World Coin News
April 30, 2013

This article was originally printed in World Coin News.
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Auction firm Baldwin’s will present the third and final part of the Bentley Collection May 8 in London. It will draw to a close the sale of what it calls the most spectacular and comprehensive assemblage of British gold sovereigns.

Part three will contain 307 lots of the London Royal Mint issues not already offered.

The highlight and the most valuable coin in this part of the sale is the George III 1819 sovereign by Benedetto Pistrucci. The key date of the London series had a very low calendar mintage of 3,574, and there are fewer than 10 known examples in private hands.

It is suggested that most of the new sovereigns of 1817 found their way overseas with tourists wanting to spend freely on the continent, the subsequent demand therefore diminishing into the 1818 issue and beyond, according to Baldwin’s. Once restrictions on payment of gold were removed by the Bank of England from 1820-1823, the sovereign only then became more firmly established and took over as the payment medium from bank notes.

The Bentley Collection coin is the finest example by more than a whole British grading step and has not been on the market for nearly 15 years. It was last offered at public auction by Sotheby’s, on Oct. 15, 1998, in London, where it sold for 55,000 pounds, or about US$36,000, including premium. It carries an estimate of 150,000-200,000 pounds, or about $98,000-$130,650, in this sale.

The auction also includes many other rare issues of currency, pattern and proof coins from the inception of the sovereign as a prototype in 1816 right through to the decimal period with the final coin dating to 1974.

Elsewhere in the collection are two further high-value George III sovereigns: an 1816 gold pattern sovereign engraved by Thomas Wyon Jr. and an 1818 gold proof sovereign engraved by Benedetto Pistrucci. They are estimated at 15,000-20,000 pounds, or about $9,800-$13,000, each.

An 1830 George IV proof sovereign engraved by William Wyon after Francis Chantrey’s model depicts the head of the King facing left on the obverse and, on the reverse, carries eight hearts in the Hanoverian Arms like the currency pieces as opposed to the seven heart semee plain edge piece published in part one of the Bentley Collection for the very first time.

This particular coin was only discovered, confirmed by the Royal Mint and sold for the first time publicly in 2005 at a London sale where Baldwin’s parent company, Noble Investments (UK) PLC, bought it on behalf of the owner of the Bentley Collection.

It was reported that the vendor at the auction had owned the coin since the 1960s when it was purchased from a coin dealer. Unique in private hands and preserved in the best of quality, this is one of the key pieces of George IV in the collection.

Part three of the Bentley Collection will be sold during a three-day Baldwin’s auction extravaganza which will see part one of the David Fore Collection of British Indian Coins and the Horus Collection of Islamic Coins go under the hammer. The sales will be held between over May 7-9 in London and will be followed by part two of the David Fore Collection on May 31. Catalogs will be available online at in the five weeks prior to the events.

After the final part of the Bentley Collection has been sold, a limited edition collectors’ catalog will be produced containing all three parts together with prices realized and any corrections made.

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