Henry VII gold Sovereign, type III (1493-95)

Henry VII gold Sovereign, type III (1493-95)

Henry VII (1485-1509), gold fine Sovereign of Twenty Shillings, group III (issued c.Spring 1493-Autumn 1495), crowned robed figure of King sitting facing on throne, holding orb and sceptre, greyhound and dragon supporters on throne pillars, ten fleur de lis around throne, Latin legend with inner and outer beaded borders surrounding, initial mark dragon both sides, double mullet stops, hEnricvs** DEI** GRACIA** REx** AnGLIE** et** FRAnCIE ** Dns** ibAr, rev. quartered shield of arms upon blooming rose, within ten arc double tressure of beaded and linear makeup, lion and lis alternation within each arc, Latin legend with inner and outer beaded border surrounding, *IHESVS* AVTEm* TRAnsiens** PER** medivm** ILLORVm** ibAt****, weight 15.34g (SCBI 23:78; SCH 549; P&W III; N.1691; S.2174). Flan a little undulating, some surface marks and light wear to high points, otherwise good fine to almost very fine and very rare.

The fine gold Sovereign of Twenty Shillings was first introduced in England in the Renaissance period by King Henry VII from 28th October 1489 and ran through five different types of design till the end of the reign. The third type was issued until the Autumn of 1495 whereupon there was a break in issue until 1502, the well-proportioned design being a truly life-like improvement on that seen for the earlier groups I and II. The third issue features the mint mark of dragon which was reserved only for use upon the gold Sovereign coinage and signified the Welsh Tudor descent from Owen Tudor. The dragon is also featured on one of the throne pillars, along with the other Tudor Royal beast of the Greyhound signifying the maternal line from Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby. The group III gold Sovereigns are very rare and Potter and Winstanley could only trace sixteen examples in museums and private collections when they published their articles on Henry VII and Henry VIII some 55 years ago. Since that time not many more examples have emerged giving a population today in the order of 20-25 examples known of this piece of Tudor art.


Ex H A Parsons, Glendining, 11th May 1954, lot 24.

David Dupree Collection, purchased by Spink 1989.

Spink Numismatic Circular, February 1991, item 150.

Clarendon Collection, part I, Bonhams, February 2006, lot 699.

Used as a plate coin to illustrate the reign of Henry VII for the History of the Gold Sovereign in the Bentley Collection preface published 2012, published by Baldwin.


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