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GM25393

George III 1798/7 Pattern gold Guinea by Pingo, three known MS62

George III (1760-1820), Pattern Trial gold Guinea, 1798, the 8 struck over 7, by Lewis Pingo, utilising the over-dated Half-Guinea dies on a guinea sized flan, fifth laureate head right, legend GEORGIVS III DEI GRATIA., rev. struck en medaille, crowned quartered spade shaped shield of arms, date at bottom, legend commences lower left, M.B.F.ET.H. REX. F.D.B. ET.L.D.S.R.I.A.T ET.E., edge obliquely grained, weight 8.37g (WR 111 R6; Selig 1333 this coin; Farey 2150; Bull EGC 867 R6). Toned with a nice red hue, some tiny black flecks and spots otherwise has been slabbed and graded by NGC as MS62 and one of only two examples we are aware of in private hands, with one in the British Museum Collection making a total of only three known, of highest rarity.

NGC Certification 2124454-042.

The Latin legends translate to on obverse "George the Third by the Grace of God" continuing on the reverse in abbreviated Latin which if in shown in full reads "Magnae Britanniae Franciae et Hiberniae Rex Fidei Defensor Brun et Lunebergen-sis Dux, Sacri Romani Imperii Archi-Thesaurius et Elector" and translates as "King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, Duke of Brunswick and Luneberg, High Treasurer and Elector of the Holy Roman Empire."

This unusual trial piece seems to utilise the 1798 Half Guinea dies on a guinea size flan, the dies then went on into regular production use of Half-Guineas albeit unusually with the overdate as perhaps the trial had been delayed from 1797 and also explains to some extent why the coin has an MS grading rather than proof PF but perhaps it should really have been an SP specimen designation. Such trials with a smaller denomination upon a larger denomination's flan are known for silver or copper issues for earlier monarchs but to see such a pattern or trial piece in gold is highly unusual. There was another example last sold in the Douglas-Morris collection lot 115 in 1974 that was from the Virgil Brand Collection. There were also examples in the Montagu and Murdoch sales which were likely to be either this coin or the Douglas-Morris one. The Douglas-Morris cataloguer cited three examples known in 1974 with which we still concur, of highest rarity.

Provenance:

Ex John Marshall, Sotheby, 13th August 1875, lot 45, sold for £4/8/- mentions one other known in British Museum Collection.

Ex William Brice, collection purchased en bloc by Hyman Montagu, 1887.

Ex Hyman Montagu, portion from George I onward offered as a fixed price list by Spink and Son Ltd 1890, item 527.

Ex Herman Selig Collection, part II Coins of George III, Spink Coin auction 131, 2nd March 1999, lot 1133.

In researching the provenance of this piece we have had to adjust and discount what was listed as its full provenance in the Selig sale of 1999 where it was additionally mentioned as being also ex Murdoch, Brand and Douglas-Morris. Looking back to the 1974 Douglas-Morris sale the coin illustrated there is clearly a different example without the black spots and a weakness to the tops of the letters on right side of obverse and is given in that sale as merely being ex Brand Collection. Looking further back to the Murdoch sale which is also photographed the coin there seems to match in more with the Douglas-Morris piece than it does with this coin judged on similar weakness, and also with the makeup of the rim. Whilst it is always hard to categorically say a coin is definitely the same as one that is plated, especially in the pre-1960 era when plates were generally made up of plaster casts of the coins rather than direct photography, luckily the Montagu fixed price list did utilise early photography and we believe this coin is illustrated. To our eye the Montagu coin shares more characteristics with the coin offered herewith for sale and does not match the Murdoch piece mainly judged on the rim make up and the fact the obverse letter tops on the right side are distinct. As the only other known example is in the British Museum we therefore deduce this coin is the ex Marshall, Brice and Montagu Collections before finding its way to Herman Selig. Interestingly no example of this extremely rare pattern was present in the Nobleman collection of 1922.

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