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HM32458

Charles I pattern heavy weight gold Unite, Unique 30 shilling weight NGC AU55

Charles I (1625-49), pattern gold Unite of Thirty Shillings weight, struck in high relief by Abraham Van Der Dort, long haired bust left in lace collar, no mark of value but gold equivalent of Thirty Shillings, initial mark lis with stop either side, Latin legend and toothed border surrounding, CAROLVS. D; G; MAG; BRIT; FR; ET. HI; REX, rev. struck en medaille, crowned oval quartered shield of arms, crowned C to left, crowned R to right, initial mark lis at end of legend (c. 1630), Latin legend and toothed border surrounding, FLORENT. CONCORDIA. REGNA., edge plain, weight 13.89g (cf.WR 22 R5; Farquhar, British Numismatic Journal, first series, volume 5, 1908, page 178 this coin illustrated, N.2655). Graded by NGC AU55. Light wear to highest points only, light red tone, small rim abrasion, the only known specimen of this weight for thirty shillings worth of gold, perhaps unique as it is the only known example to us.

NGC certification 6769147-001.

The abbreviated Latin legends translate as on obverse "Charles by the grace of God, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland," and on the reverse "Through concord Kingdoms flourish."

This coin was once part of Helen Farquhar's own personal collection which was sold post-mortem at Glendining on the 25th April 1955 as lot 23. The picture quality is not great in the catalogue as the plates were derived from plaster casts of the coins at that time, but the weight is exactly the same at 214 grains and is described merely as being struck on a heavy flan in high relief. There is a spot of the red casting wax still on the coin below the X in REX from the Farquhar plate making process.

What is more convincing however is that this coin must also have been in Miss Farquhar's possession back in the early 20th Century as it is photographed in her own article "Portraits of our Stuart Monarchs on their Coins and Medals - Part I" in the British Numismatic Journal of 1908 page 178, quoted above from a proper photograph. It was however merely used to illustrate the pattern broad of twenty shillings and the significance of the weight was not discussed presumably as it had never been weighed. The coin is illustrated below the famed Juxon Medal of Five Unites which is in the British Museum and was the piece Charles I handed to Bishop Juxon just before he was executed. We assume she acquired this pattern piece around the turn of the 20th century.

It could also be assumed that the first time this specimen was weighed was when Spink catalogued the collection for Glendining, after Miss Farquhar's death in 1953. The cataloguer merely noting the flan was heavy. Significantly this lot was only one of three lots in the whole sale to have a weight noted in print. The other two lots being pattern Unites by Briot of lighter weights. Perhaps the cataloguer knew there was something significant in the weight difference but was unable to develop the notion further.

The weight is in the same range of the second coinage Rose Ryal of King James I issued some 20 years previously and this coin may have been made to test the reaction of the introduction of the thirty-shilling face value as opposed to a lighter twenty-shilling piece. This coin also fits into the weight pattern of the unique pattern Triple Unite (Sixty Shillings of gold) by Van Der Dort that was sold in the Baldwin Rarity auction of ex vault stock back in 2006, that coin weighed 27.20g and sold for a then record price of £241,500 which also supports this pattern herewith as a Thirty Shilling face value. Such practice of un-denominated coins issued and accepted on their weight was already a system in use in the Germanic parts of Europe with issues of multiple ducats with face value based upon weight. As a struck pattern coin this piece is of the highest numismatic importance.

Provenance:

Ex Deceased Lady Collector (Helen Farquhar), Glendining, 25th April 1955, Lot 23 and plate I, sold for £98.

Ex Dix, Noonan and Webb, London, Auction 71, 28th September 2006, Lot 592 sold for £10,000 hammer.

Ex Ira and Larry Goldberg, Sale 48, Hollywood USA, 16th September 2008, Lot 2078 when graded by NGC as AU55 sold for $11,500 hammer.

Ex Baldwin's Fixed Price List, Summer 2014, BH103, listed at £75,000 as a unique pattern.

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