Elizabeth I sixth issue Sovereign mintmark tun

Elizabeth I sixth issue Sovereign mintmark tun

Elizabeth I (1558-1603), fine gold Sovereign of Thirty Shillings, sixth issue (1583-1600), full facing robed figure of Queen seated on large throne, lis headed pillar either side, throne back of pellets in hatching, five pellets up each side of throne back, portcullis below Queen, tressure and beaded border surrounding, Latin legend and outer beaded border on both sides, initial mark tun (1592-95), ELIZABETH. D; G; ANG FRA; ET. HIB; REGINA. rev. quartered shield at centre of ornate rose, beaded circle surrounding, A'. DNO; FACTV; EST. ISTVD ET. EST. MIRAB; OCVL'. NRS, weight 15.54g (B&C 2, A26; Schneider 783; N.2003; S.2529). A decent full round well-struck coin with a red tinged tone, just a slight hint of weakness in parts of legend both sides, otherwise almost extremely fine, very rare this well preserved.

The abbreviated Latin legend translates as on obverse "Elizabeth by the Grace of God, Queen of England, France and Ireland," and on the reverse "This is the Lord's doing and it is marvellous in our eyes," a Psalm from the Bible.


The fine gold Sovereign of Elizabeth I was a highly respected coin at the time, and was famed in the acting world of the time of William Shakespeare, as the coin of choice to be honoured with should the Queen attend a performance personally. Traditionally the Queen would honour the playwright and the star of the show with her favour reflected in the presenting of a fine gold Sovereign. We have such evidence of this in the will of the Gentleman Actor Augustine Phillips of Mortlake Surrey who was one of the first to rise to such a social status in his profession. From his will dated 13th May 1605 we can see fine gold Sovereign presented described thus "I give and bequeath to my fellow William Shakespeare a XXXs piece in gould, To my fellow Henry Condell one other xxxs piece in gould." Such a coin of honour being highly revered and not to be spent in the lifetime of the recipient.


The usage of mint mark tun can be dated exactly from the survival of pyx trial records to the 1st February 1592 till 10th June 1693 for the fine gold issues like the Sovereign though it was used for longer on the crown gold issues. It is estimated some £12,000 worth of fine gold coins were struck for this mark which includes the gold Angel and its fractions, and this figure is the second smallest output of fine gold after the crosslet mint mark used in the earlier second issue of 1561-65. Survivors of this mint mark are therefore very rare.



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