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The Bentley Collection – Part One

8th May 2012

London

The first part of this outstanding collection contains over 380 individual lots all from the Royal Mint when it was based in London. Apart from the extremely rare 1819 Gold Sovereign , part one of the Bentley Collection contains at least one example of every single date issued for currency in the UK as well as many Pattern and Proof issues. The extremely rare 1819 Sovereign the finest known specimen in private hands, will be offered for sale in part three of the collection, due to be sold in May 2013.

Some brief highlights in this almost complete run will include George III Patterns and Proofs of 1816-17, the George IV 1825 first head type proof, early Victorian shield including the 1869 24 carat piece and later St George reverse rarities of the various busts. Rare currency pieces of George IV 1823, 1828, William IV 1836 with N in the shield, Victorian narrow shields of 1838 and 1843, the 1841 with unbarred A’s, 1863 die number 22 with 827 on truncation and a selection of extremely rare Queen Elizabeth II proofs and specimens.

If you would like to receive a free copy of the brochure we have produced to commemorate this, the ultimate British Sovereign collection, please email us your postal address.

Shown below are some of the many highlights from part one.

Click Here to pre-order your copy of the softback catalogue for part one online now!

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George III (1760-1820), Proof Gold Sovereign, 1817, engraved by Benedetto Pistrucci, laureate head of King right, 10 leaves in wreath, coarse hair, date below, descending colon after BRITANNIAR: lettering clear of raised rim, “GEORGIUS III D: G: BRITANNIAR: REX F: D:” top left serif absent from third I in III, reverse with St George slaying dragon right with broken lance. groundline with BP incuse to left, all within horizontally ruled garter with buckle, W W P incuse on sides of buckle, garter motto “HONI . SOIT . QUI . MAL . Y . PENSE .” top left serif absent from I of HONI, edge, milled, weight 8.00g, WR 197, S.3785, Douglas-Morris 140, some red tone spots, some tiny associated hairlines, otherwise as struck and extremely rare.

Proposed estimation to be confirmed

The resulting Sovereign design adopted for currency, here demonstrated struck to “Proof” quality from highly polished dies. Such delightful pieces were given to highly influential persons as gifts to show the pride in the new design; today they are extremely rare. The Bentley Collection also contains examples for George III dated 1818 (part three) and 1820 (part two).

To be offered in part one May 2012

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William IV (1830-7), Proof Gold Sovereign, 1831, engraved by William Wyon after Francis Chantrey’s model, second bare head right of King with coarse hair and flat topped ear, W.W. incuse on truncation, nose points to second I in BRITANNIAR, “GULIELMUS IIII D: G: BRITANNIAR: REX F: D:” toothed border and raised rim both sides, reverse struck with inverted die axis, by Jean Baptiste Merlen, crowned shield of arms, quartered with the arms of Hanover as an escutcheon, eight harp strings, “ANNO 1831” below, edge, plain, weight, 8.04g, diameter 21.8mm, WR 261; S.3829B. lightly toned with some light hairlines, mint state.

Proposed estimation to be confirmed

This Proof Sovereign dated 1831 of William IV, brother of George IV depicts a bare headed King with a shield type reverse. The bust is of the second type showing a slightly different ear profile, and the proportion of the bust to the legend is different from that of the first bust type. This second bust type was used in currency from 1832-7. This Proof struck from highly polished dies is very rare, especially in top quality condition as many were handled or polished from being part of commemorative proof sets issued in relation to the Coronation of William IV which took place on the 8th September 1831.

To be offered in part one May 2012

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Victoria (1837-1901), Proof Gold Sovereign, 1853, engraved after William Wyon, second larger young head of Queen left, with double fillet, W.W incuse on truncation, spread date below, “VICTORIA DEI GRATIA” slightly double struck, toothed border and raised rim both sides, reverse engraved after Jean Baptiste Merlen, struck with inverted die axis, crowned shield of arms within laurel wreath tied with bow below shield, seven harp strings, emblems below, small rosette either side, “BRITANNIARUM REGINA FID: DEF:” edge, milled, weight 7.99g, diameter 22.1mm, WR 305, Douglas-Morris 205, S.3852D. light hairline scratch by first I of VICTORIA, otherwise as struck.

Proposed estimation to be confirmed

The 1853 Proof Sovereign struck from highly polished dies is a coin that was included in the very rare “proof sets” of all the coinage that were available for purchase from the Court Jeweller “Hunt and Roskell”. The coins were available to purchase singly too and are one of the rarer Proof Sovereigns of the reign. Of superlative quality and very rare.

To be offered in part one May 2012

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George IV (1820-30), Proof Gold Sovereign, 1821, engraved by Benedetto Pistrucci, first laureate head left, 13 leaves in wreath, B.P. below, lettering with interior compartments of ruled horizontal lines, “GEORGIUS IIII D: G: BRITANNIAR: REX F: D:”, toothed border both sides, rev. struck with inverted die axis, St George slaying dragon right with sword, no helmet streamer, horse’s tail with three terminal strands, broken lance on ground to left, with WWP in relief below, date in exergue, with B.P. to upper right, edge, milled, weight 7.99g, diameter 22.1mm, WR 231, S.3800. 8 in date doubled from die, tiny black spot in front curl of hair and one on rim, tiny dig on neck, a few other light blemishes, good extremely fine.

The second incarnation of the St George and dragon reverse design has proven to stand the test of time, and become the most iconic and long-lived depiction of any coin design in the World with little change over the 190 years of issue till 2011. This Proof version from highly polished dies is very rare and highly desirable as the first date this design was issued.

To be offered in part one May 2012

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George IV (1820-30), Proof Gold Sovereign, 1825, engraved by William Wyon after Francis Chantrey’s model, second bare head left, date below, rosette either side, toothed border both sides, “GEORGIUS IV DEI GRATIA” rev. struck with inverted die axis, engraved by Jean Baptiste Merlen, crowned shield of arms, quartered with the arms of Hanover as an escutcheon, upper left lis of Scottish Arms detached and incomplete, nine harp strings, “BRITANNIARUM REX FID: DEF:” edge, plain, weight 7.98g, diameter 21.8mm, WR 235, S.3801, Douglas-Morris 158, light tone with some hairlines, two tiny scratches on cheek with other light handling marks, good extremely fine and very rare.

This is a proof of the second type of Sovereign for the reign of George IV. The Bentley Collection contains two varieties of this gold proof, a plain edge version depicted here and the milled edge piece (part two). There are also two similar uniface trials struck in “Barton’s Metal” - a copper core with a layer of fine gold over the top, one of the obverse (part two) and one of the reverse (part three), all these proof strikings are very rare.

To be offered in part one May 2012

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Victoria (1837-1901), Proof Gold Sovereign, 1839, slight ghosting, engraved by William Wyon, first young head left, with double fillet, extra terminal strand of hair at ponytail, W.W. raised on truncation, date below lightly double struck, weaker fine toothed border both sides, no tooth indents, high raised rim, “VICTORIA DEI GRATI’A” (note small flaw at end of legend) slightly ghosted, struck later from a weaker die, hair at bun appears more undefined and coarse, rev. struck with inverted die axis, engraved by Jean Baptiste Merlen, crowned shield of arms within laurel wreath tied with bow below shield, top of wreath each side terminates in two leaves, seven harp strings, emblems below, small rosette either side, “BRITANNIARUM REGINA FID: DEF:” second I in legend with broken top left serif, edge, plain, weight 7.91g, diameter 21.9mm, WR 303, Douglas-Morris 203, S.3852. very light contemporary hairlines both sides otherwise as struck.

This is a proof Sovereign struck from highly polished dies of the currency design with the plain edge. The Bentley Collection specimen is in a superb state of preservation and was the variety issued in the full proof sets to commemorate the new Young head coinage of Queen Victoria.

To be offered in part one May 2012

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George III (1760-1820)

Pattern Gold Sovereign 1816, by Thomas Wyon Jnr. after Pistrucci’s cameo, larger laureate head right, with ties at back, four leaves at top of head, toothed border both sides, struck slightly off-centre, “GEORGIUS III D: G: BRITT: REX F: D:” rev. struck en medaille, die flaw into crown and one in legend, crown arches with 12 pearls each side, 6 pearls vertically arranged each side of central upright, tall cross on top with short horizontal line between it and top of crown, crowned square shield of arms quartered with the arms of Hanover as an escutcheon, 18 16 below lightly double struck, “BRITTANIARUM REX FID: DEF:” edge, plain, weight 9.53g, diameter 22.1mm, WR 185, Murdoch 185, Douglas-Morris 126, red tone spot by chin, lightly hairlined, smaller spot below truncation hairline die flaws raised on reverse, otherwise, mint state

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George IV (1820-30)

Gold Sovereign, 1823, engraved by Benedetto Pistrucci, first laureate head left, B.P. below, frosted lettering, “GEORGIUS IIII D: G: BRITANNIAR: REX F: D:” toothed border both sides, rev. struck with inverted die axis, St George slaying dragon right with sword, broken lance on ground to left, with WWP in relief below, date in exergue, with B.P. to upper right, edge, milled, weight 7.97g, Marsh 7, S.3800. Only a trace of the serif on the 1 in date, myriad of tiny surface marks, a pleasing good extremely fine and very attractive, perhaps the finest known specimen

Ex Jacob Y Terner collection lot 269 – no longer in its MS63 slab

One of the rarest dates in the currency series of George IV, the 1823 Sovereign in this grade of preservation is of the highest rarity, very few, if any other, are as nice as this.

To be offered in part one May 2012

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Victoria (1837-1901)

Pattern Gold Sovereign, 1838, engraved by William Wyon, small young head left, with double fillet, rear fillet plain, top of front and rear fillets defined with a double incuse line, W.W. incuse on truncation, date below, 8 lightly double struck, rosette either side, fine toothed border and raised rim both sides, “VICTORIA DEI GRATIA” more widely spaced, 8 to 4 o’clock, rev. struck with inverted die axis, engraved by Jean Baptiste Merlen, crowned narrow shield of arms within laurel wreath tied with bow below shield, six harp strings in Irish arms which emanate from back of female figure, emblems below, small rosette either side, “BRITANNIARUM REGINA FID: DEF:” edge, plain, weight, 7.84g, diameter 21.9mm, WR 299, Douglas-Morris 201. Date and reverse legend slightly doubled, hairline on bust from cheek to truncation, otherwise lightly toned mint state

The proposals for the new coinage took some time to effect and the new currency did not come to fruition until at least 1838 for most denominations. This further proposal for the Sovereign dated 1838 goes back to the smaller head, the fillets in the hair are now rendered with incuse outlines, and the engraver’s initials WW appear on the truncation. The legend is widely spaced and this extremely rare pattern is also struck to proof quality from highly polished dies.

To be offered in part one May 2012

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George IV (1820-30)

Gold Sovereign, 1828, by William Wyon after Francis Chantrey’s model, second bare head left, date below, rosette either side, toothed border both sides, “GEORGIUS IV DEI GRATIA” rev. struck with inverted die axis, by Jean Baptiste Merlen, crowned shield of arms, quartered with the arms of Hanover as an escutcheon, 8 hearts in semee, detached upper lis in Scottish arms, nine harp strings in Irish arms, “BRITANNIARUM REX FID: DEF:” edge, milled, weight 7.95g, Marsh 13; S.3801, light surface marks, toned very fine / good very fine.

The rarest currency Sovereign of the reign of George IV, the 1828 Sovereign is the second rarest date in the London series after the 1819. Very few examples exist today in any grade above very fine and the one here is a particularly pleasing specimen of highest rarity. The reason why the date is so rare is that there were many functional dies of 1827 still in good order at the start of the calendar year. This supply of 1827 dies was not spent until November of 1828, leaving only a small requirement for 1828 dated coins before the year 1829 commenced.

To be offered in part one May 2012

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Victoria (1837-1901)

Pattern Gold Sovereign, 1837, engraved by William Wyon, small young head left, with double fillet, rear lower fillet finely ruled with horizontal incuse lines, plain truncation, date below slightly double struck, rosette either side, fine toothed border and raised rim both sides, “VICTORIA DEI GRATIA” around upper half of field, 9 to 3 o’clock, rev. struck with inverted die axis, engraved by Jean Baptiste Merlen, crowned narrow shield of arms within laurel wreath tied with bow below shield, 12 pearls on each arch of crown, 4 pearls vertically arranged on central upright, top of wreath each side terminates in three leaves, six harp strings in Irish arms which emanate from back of female figure, emblems below, small rosette either side, “BRITANNIARUM REGINA FID: DEF:” edge, plain, weight, 7.75g, diameter 21.8mm, WR 295, Douglas-Morris 198. Striking flaw in obverse field, some light hairlines otherwise mint state.

This is considered to be the first proposed pattern Sovereign for the young Queen Victoria for which she granted William Wyon multiple portrait sittings. The head is of a small stature, the rear hair fillet lightly ruled with horizontal lines and the legend closely spaced; the reverse by Merlen being very similar to that adopted for currency. This first pattern is extremely rare and the Bentley Collection specimen is of proof quality struck from highly polished dies.

To be offered in part one May 2012

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Victoria (1837-1901)

Gold Sovereign, 1838, doubled 3 in date, engraved by William Wyon, first young head left, with double fillet, extra terminal strand of hair at ponytail, W.W. raised on truncation, date below, 3 double struck, fine toothed border and raised rim both sides, “VICTORIA DEI GRATIA” rev. struck with inverted die axis, possibly engraved by Jean Baptiste Merlen, narrow crowned shield of arms within laurel wreath of different leaf arrangement tied with bow below shield, 12 pearls on each arch of crown, 4 pearls vertically arranged on central upright, top of wreath each side terminates in three leaves, crown with more prominent arches, six harp strings in Irish arms which emanate from back of female figure, but start higher up in harp above the lower scroll, emblems below, small rosette either side, “BRITANNIARUM REGINA FID: DEF:” edge, milled, Marsh 22A, S.3852A.Proof-like underlying brilliance, some light scuffing, extremely fine, reverse better and extremely rare, one of the finest extant of this great rarity.

This interesting variety of reverse was only discovered a few decades ago, and is perhaps an unused proposal die that was too good to not use and found its way onto the current Sovereign of 1838, it may well be the work of an apprentice engraver working under Merlen. The variety is of the highest rarity with most examples only surviving in the lower grades. This piece is the best quality example we are aware of.

To be offered in part one May 2012

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George IV (1820-30)

Proof Gold Sovereign, 1825, by Benedetto Pistrucci, first laureate head left, B.P. below, frosted lettering, “GEORGIUS IIII D: G: BRITANNIAR: REX F: D:” O and T in legend both lightly, some other letters doubled, flawed, toothed border with bevelled rims both sides, rev. struck en medaille, St George slaying dragon right with sword, broken lance on ground to left, with WWP in relief below, date in exergue, only a trace of a serif on 1 of date, with B.P. to upper right, edge, plain, weight 8.47g, diameter 21.8mm, WR 234 R7, S.3800. Multiple hairlines otherwise good extremely fine and the only known specimen

ex Marshall collection, 31st March 2004, lot 177
Spink Numismatic Circular, July 1943, item 20955
Presumably “Nobleman”, Sotheby, 27th March 1922, lot 136
J G Murdoch, lot 381

One of the rarest Proof Sovereigns in the London series, this is thought to be the only specimen in private ownership. The date 1825 with this first bust of George IV is very rare indeed as a currency striking (part three). As a plain edge proof from highly polished dies it may be the only one in existence. Even the standard reference work for the gold pattern, proof and trial coins does not carry an illustration of this coin merely listing it with references back to sales of 90 years ago and more which is presumably for this coin. The rarest of opportunities occurs now to secure a piece of numismatic history.

To be offered in part one May 2012

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William IV (1830-7)

Gold Sovereign, 1836, by William Wyon after Francis Chantrey’s model, second bare head right with coarse hair and flat topped ear, W.W. incuse doubled on truncation, first W meets field, nose points to second I in BRITANNIAR, “GULIELMUS IIII D: G: BRITANNIAR: REX F: D:” coarse toothed border obverse, more finely toothed on reverse, raised rim both saides, rev. struck with inverted die axis, by Jean Baptiste Merlen, crowned shield of arms, quartered with the arms of Hanover as an escutcheon, eight harp strings in Irish arms, “ANNO 1836” below, upper right of 3 broken, extra N of ANNO struck in shield, edge, milled, weight, 7.99g, Marsh 20, S.3829B. almost extremely fine and the finest extant of the known specimens.

Ex Spink Auction, 29th September 2005, lot 1701

The most striking rarity in the currency series of William IV is the “N in shield” variety discovered just over a decade ago, and still numbering to less than ten specimens known. An engravers die error, the N of ANNO has been mistruck too high and intrudes the shield design giving a spectacular error of which this example is perhaps the finest known.

To be offered in part one May 2012

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Victoria (1837-1901)

Proof Gold Sovereign, 1838, date ghosted, engraved by William Wyon, first young head left, fine hair with double fillet, extra line depicting lower rear fillet, ponytail terminates in near ring of hair, W.W. raised on truncation, date below lightly double struck, fine toothed border and raised rim both sides, “VICTORIA DEI GRATIA” rev. struck en medaille, engraved by Jean Baptiste Merlen, crowned shield of arms within laurel wreath tied with bow below shield, narrow crown arches not so acutely angled each with 11 pearl adornment, 5 pearls vertically arranged on central upright, top of wreath each side terminates in two leaves, seven harp strings in taller Irish arms, first left string from scroll on female figure, emblems below, small rosette either side, “BRITANNIARUM REGINA FID: DEF:” edge, plain, weight, 7.33g, diameter 21.9mm, WR 300, Douglas-Morris 202. Some hairlines otherwise mint state

Ex Sotheby, October 1995 lot 814

This final proposal is as that adopted for currency, the only difference being that this coin carries a plain edge and is therefore a pattern struck to proof quality from highly polished dies. This successful proposal is very rare and highly significant as the forerunner of the currency shield reverse Sovereign of Queen Victoria.

To be offered in part one May 2012

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