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The Hemisphere Collection

The Hemisphere Collection of Gold Sovereigns

A diverse collection of Gold Sovereigns including both Hammered and Milled with some exceptional rarities amongst a complete run of monarchs for this denomination.
A. H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd. are proud to present this very important Numismatic collection for auction in London on 8th May 2014

The Hemisphere Collection of Gold Sovereigns was formed as part of a ten year plan, with the aim of constructing a comprehensive date collection of gold Sovereigns, not only of the modern period, but to also include the earlier hammered pieces of that denomination. Starting in late 2003 the current owner began a quest to secure a Sovereign of each and every date, including each date for the Colonial Mints, through the London numismatic trade and at public auction. The criteria was to try to attain all the dates issued by every mint for the modern gold Sovereign, both from London and the colonies right up to present, as well as at least one example of a Sovereign for each monarch in the hammered gold series that produced one.

The history of the Sovereign, the longest serving British gold denomination, 525 years as of 2014, was something that fascinated the current owner, which has led to this collection being the only one that we are aware of that contains examples of each and every monarch for the Sovereign denomination, both hammered and milled, including King Edward VIII.

First introduced by King Henry VII (1485-1509), in October 1489, the denomination was current throughout the hand-struck hammered Tudor and Stuart periods. The Hemisphere Collection contains at least one example of each of the Tudor Monarchs - Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth I, as well as the Stuart King James I. The collection was inspired by the coins featured in the publication “The Royal Sovereign 1489-1989” edited by G P Dyer and published 25 years ago by the Royal Mint on the 500th Anniversary of the Sovereign. The various later guises of the denomination as diversely termed as “Pound”, “Unite”, “Laurel”, and “Guinea” therefore did not fit the strict criteria for this collection. It is appropriate to note here that the Hemisphere Collection, contains an example of the extremely rare 1819 currency Sovereign, that is the actual one illustrated in this comprehensive book on the subject on page 44.

Most significantly the Hemisphere Collection includes the King Edward VIII 1937 Proof Sovereign, a coin of the highest rarity. This fabled coin was never produced for currency issue, due to the abdication of the King, and consequently numismatic examples of his reign are very seldom encountered indeed. The Prof. R E Gibson Collection of Sovereigns sold in 1984 contained this actual example of the coin, but the Gibson Collection did not include the hammered gold Sovereigns, or indeed the other exceptional rarity in the Hemisphere Collection, the 1953 gold Proof Sovereign of our current Queen, of which only a miniscule number have ever found their way into private hands. The recent Bentley Collection sold by Baldwin in 2012-3 did not contain examples of either of these exceptional rarities; and though complete in its currency formation, there was a monarchical gap in the lack of an Edward VIII piece. The Hemisphere collection has no such absence in its unbroken line of monarchy.

A favourite coin in the collection is the earliest Sovereign the current owner could locate, an example of the King Henry VII Sovereign of the group IV classification with the reverse mint mark dragon. This mint mark was only used on the Sovereign denomination, and dates this coin to 1502-4 and was purchased at auction in May 2005, just over 500 years after it saw the light of day.

The “Top Forty” most valuable and interesting Sovereigns are featured within this illustrated brochure, but the collection as a whole, has been cherished throughout its formation. The current owner has enjoyed the thrill of the chase in securing these coins, which even included a remarkable trip to Tokyo, Japan, in 2008 to repatriate the King Edward VIII Sovereign, from a packed auction room in the Imperial Hotel. Following on from these numismatic adventures the current owner, has now decided it is the time to pass over the custodianship of these valuable coins to others in a more youthful phase of their collecting.

Steve Hill
December 2013


Statistical Analysis

The Hemisphere Collection of Gold Sovereigns consists of 394 pieces in total dating from the early 16th Century until 2013.

The earliest portion contains 8 hammered gold Sovereigns dating from King Henry VII until King James I, a 140 year period with their reigns dating from 1485-1625.

The Modern gold Sovereigns from the United Kingdom number 174 pieces which date from 1817 until 2013, including all the rare currency dates, with exceedingly rare proof examples of King Edward VIII and the 1953 Proof Sovereign of our current Queen.

The Hemisphere Collection of Gold Sovereigns contains 190 Sovereigns issued from the Australian branch Mints of Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

This quantity further breaks down to:

84 pieces from Sydney Mint which produced dated currency Sovereigns from 1855 to 1926 inclusive.

73 pieces from the Melbourne Mint which produced dated currency Sovereigns for most years from 1872 to 1931 inclusive.

33 pieces from the Perth Mint which produced dated currency Sovereigns from 1899 to 1931 inclusive.

The Hemisphere Collection of Gold Sovereigns contains 22 Sovereigns from the other Colonial branch Mints of Canada, India and South Africa.

This breaks down to 10 pieces from the Ottawa, Canada Mint which produced dated Imperial Sovereigns for most years from 1908 to 1919 inclusive.

A single piece that was issued as a currency Imperial Sovereign from the Bombay, India Mint.

11 pieces from the Pretoria, South Africa Mint which produced dated Imperial currency Sovereigns from 1923 to 1932 inclusive.

The Hemisphere Collection contains a total of 49 pattern or proof issue Sovereigns mostly of Queen Elizabeth II but this includes the 1953 of the highest rarity and the King Edward VIII Sovereign.

REIGN AND TYPE BREAKDOWN OF THE COLLECTION

Coins from the Royal Mint (c.1500-present)

Hammered Gold

King Henry VII (1485-1509) – One Sovereign of Group IV.

King Henry VIII (1509-47) – One Sovereign of the third coinage, Southwark Mint.

King Edward VI (1547-53) – Three hammered gold Sovereigns.

Queen Mary (1553-4) – One hammered gold Sovereign dated 1553.

Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) – One hammered gold Sovereign, mint mark escallop.

King James I (1603-25) – One hammered gold Sovereign, first coinage, first bust type.

Milled Gold

King George III (1760-1820) – Four Sovereigns – one of each date issued.

King George IV (1820-30) – Thirteen Sovereigns.

King William IV (1830-7) – Eight Sovereigns.

Queen Victoria (1837-1901) – Sixty Five Sovereigns.

Young head Shield Reverse type (1838-74) – Forty One Sovereigns.

Young head St George Reverse type (1871-85) – Ten Sovereigns.

Jubilee type (1887-92) – Six Sovereigns.

Old head type (1893-1901) - Eight Sovereigns.

King Edward VII (1901-10) – Nine Sovereigns.

King George V (1910-36) – Nine Sovereigns.

King Edward VIII (1936) – One Sovereign – the only example singly available to collectors.

Queen Elizabeth II (acc.1952) – Sixty Four Sovereigns including the exceptional 1953 Proof.

Coins from the Branch Mint in Sydney Australia (dated 1855-1926)

Queen Victoria (1837-1901) – Sixty Sovereigns.

Sydney Mint type (1855-70) – Fifteen Sovereigns

Young head Shield Reverse type (1871-87) – Fifteen Sovereigns.

Young head St George Reverse type (1871-87) – Fourteen Sovereigns.

Jubilee type (1887-93) – Seven Sovereigns.

Old head type (1893-1901) - Nine Sovereigns.

King Edward VII (1901-10) – Nine Sovereigns.

King George V (1910-36) – Fifteen Sovereigns.

Coins from the Branch Mint in Melbourne Australia (dated 1872-1931)

Queen Victoria (1837-1901) – Forty Four Sovereigns.

Young head Shield Reverse type (1871-87) – Ten Sovereigns.

Young head St George Reverse type (1871-87) – Sixteen Sovereigns.

Jubilee type (1887-93) – Nine Sovereigns.

Old head type (1893-1901) - Nine Sovereigns.

King Edward VII (1901-10) – Nine Sovereigns.

King George V (1910-36) – Twenty Sovereigns.

Coins from the Branch Mint in Perth Australia (1899-1931)

Queen Victoria (1837-1901) – Three Sovereigns.

King Edward VII (1901-10) – Nine Sovereigns.

King George V (1910-36) – Twenty One Sovereigns.

Coins from the Branch Mint in Ottawa Canada (1908-1919)

King Edward VII (1901-10) – Three Sovereigns.

King George V (1910-36) – Seven Sovereigns.

One Coin from the Branch Mint in Bombay India (1918)

King George V (1910-36) – One Sovereign.

Coins from the Branch Mint in Pretoria, South Africa (1923-32)

King George V (1910-36) – Eleven Sovereigns.

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