The reign of James I of England (James IV of Scotland) was extraordinary for a number of reasons, not least the famous Gun Powder Plot to blow up Parliament by Guy Fawkes – an event that is still marked to this day throughout the UK.
The son of Mary Queen of Scots, James I’s succession to the throne also represents another significant event in the history of numismatics, as his coronation in 1603 saw the first coronation medal made at the Royal Mint. It is a tradition that has, just like ‘Guy Fawkes’ Night’, lasted for over 400 years.
The medals represent a wonderful historical legacy for the United Kingdom – as cultural artifacts they are rich in symbolism; as collectables they are often extremely rare and highly sought-after. For a collection as comprehensive as this to appear on the open market is even rarer.
At our May auctions, Baldwin’s is delighted to present one such exquisite collection: the Dr Robert & Joshua Feldman Collection of Official British Coronation Medals.
Charles I (1625-1649)
Scottish Coronation, 1633, Gold Medal by N Briot (from a mintage of only 75 pieces).
Very fine and rare.
“We first became interested in Coronation Medals in 1985 when we came across a coronation medal of Edward VII at a coin show in California. We went on to read Henry Wollaston’s British Official Medals for Coronations and Jubilees (1978) which filled us with enthusiasm for the series. It started a 30-year journey which ultimately led to our completing a collection of all the official medals noted in Wollaston.
“It has been wonderful for my son, Joshua, and I to have had such a marvellous time and challenge during this journey.”
Dr Robert Feldman
George IV, Coronation, 1821, Gold Medal by B Pistrucci
Beautiful, as struck and rare.
For centuries these medals have been distributed at coronation ceremonies at Westminster Abbey. Historically, the gold medals were handed to the Lords, the silver to the peers, and the copper to the public gathered outside the Abbey. Characteristically, Victoria, at her coronation in 1883 deemed this ‘an unseemly process’, and instead handed out the gold and silver medals individually.
Now, just a few minutes walk from Westminster Abbey where the first coronation medals were given to Lords and Servants alike, these exquisite medals are now offered to all.
Baldwin’s London Auctions 98 + 99 take place on 3 and 4 May 2016 at our London Offices on the Strand (click for directions).