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BM01694

Elizabeth I Four-Testerns mintmark O, XF45

Elizabeth I (1558-1603), silver Four Testerns, trade coinage "Portcullis Money", crowned quartered shield of arms, crowned E to left, crowned R to right, beaded circles and Latin legend surrounding, initial mark O, O: ELIZABETH. D:G: ANG: FRA: ET. HIB; REGINA. rev. struck en medaille, crowned portcullis with chains, beaded circles and Latin legend surrounding, initial mark O, O:POSVI. DEVM. ADIVTOREM. MEVM. 13.83g (Pridmore 2; S.2607B). With striking weakness on two parts of legend both sides, two nicks by VI of obverse legend, slight short scratch by left chain of portcullis, otherwise evenly toned, almost extremely fine and rare; has been graded and slabbed by NGC as XF45, the only piece graded by that service, with only one other graded by PCGS that seems to be inferior of strike, with a great provenance.

The four denominations of Eight, Four, Two and One silver Testern were an attempt at producing a trade coinage sponsored by the newly formed East India Company to be used in overseas trade principally in the Far East. However the competition against the Spanish Eight Reales and its fractions was too much at this time and ultimately the coinage did not succeed rendering the surviving coins a rarity. The surviving coins probably all being coins retained in London as souvenirs at the time.

The abbreviated Latin legends translate as on the obverse "Elizabeth by the Grace of God, Queen of England France and Ireland; and on the reverse "I have made God my Helper" a Psalm from the Bible.

Provenance:

Ex H. Alexander Parsons, Glendining, 11th May 1954, lot 914.

Ex N. Asherson, Spink Coin Auction 6, 10th October 1979, lot 11.

Ex Harald Salvesen Collection, Spink Zurich Auction 28, 24th October 1988, lot 3.

Ex St James Auction 1, 13th October 2004, lot 298.

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