On Thursday the 26th of September 2006 Baldwin’s Auctions held a sale in the Council Chamber of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, a stones throw from the then Adelphi Terrace premises, a short walk from our Strand office today.
Entitled ‘One Hundred Numismatic Rarities’ set out on a slim understated mahogany red auction catalogue, each cover bathed in emblems of heraldry. A near perfect mix of armorial bearings set against a patterned regal backdrop, tapping into the duality of numismatics. This duality being a reverence for tradition and heritage, not just in the form of twee evocations of yesteryear, instead the tradition needs to be role specific, axiomatic, translating into quality. In this instance one hundred rarities across all provinces, succinctly catalogued with well positioned images.
Auctions are underpinned by few essential factors, none more significant than confidence in the calibre of the auction house and the quality of the coins under the hammer. The front cover showcasing the unique Triple Pattern Unite by Vanderdort, the back cover sporting an 1847 frosted proof Gothic Crown of Victoria and a nickel brass 1937 Threepence of Edward VIII.
The unique Pattern Triple Unite had been acquired by private treaty in 1930 by the Baldwin’s family, first mentioned publicly in the proceedings of the Royal Numismatic Society 1932 (R.N.C 1932, Vol 12, 5th series, page 14). The founder Albert had attended a meeting on the 19th May 1932 and displayed it to a group of coins and medals outlining the work of Thomas Simon and Simon De Passe.
The coin later found itself published in a British Numismatic Journal article (Volume 23, 1939, p 363) penned by the venerated C. A. Whitton. In this article Whitton cites Miss Helen Farquhar and her earlier work in 1908, where she had advocated that such a coin should exist, predicated on the evidence that Abraham Vanderdort had been appointed as medalist to Charles I, with a view to issue high relief patterns covering the pound, three-pound and five-pound denominations. Derek F Allen in the Numismatic Chronicle 1941-3 formalised and documented all of Farquhar’s work, the coin then lay dormant not appearing in print or discourse until Wilson and Rasmussen published their ‘English Pattern Trial and Proof Coins in Gold 1547-1968’ at the turn of the millennium.
Listed as unique, rarity 7 (R7) number 20, page 41, weighing 27.2 grams. There is a similar Pattern Triple Unite in the Hunterian museum collection struck with a different obverse die to our example weighing 27.07g, both issued with a mintmark Plume. The other piece that makes up the series is the ‘Pattern Five Unites’ (or Five Pounds) at 47.50g, struck with mintmark Rose, this is the Juxon medal, given to Bishop Juxon by Charles I on the scaffold. William Juxon, Bishop of London at the time (later to become the Archbishop of Canterbury at the point of the restoration) had been a key figure during the interregnum, he had been personally selected by Charles I to read him his last rights before his execution. One specimen is known for the Juxon medal [W&R 18, (R7), p.39] which resides in the British museum collection, all three attributed to Vanderdort.
Abraham Vanderdort hailed from a Dutch family of craftsmen arriving in England at around 1609 during James I’s reign. In 1625 he found appointment with the accession of Charles I to provide Patterns for the coinage of the realm.
Prince Henry, Charles I’s elder brother had previously commissioned him with a payment of fifty pounds, he also had previous dealings with Prince Rudolf of Prague and had been known to the King of Denmark, after painting his portrait. Vanderdort found himself sporadically employed by the Royal court under Charles I, holding specific posts connected to the Arts, later employed for life as one of the grooms of the Privy chamber.
Known for preparing the Catalogue of the Royal Collection at Whitehall which he finished in October 1639 (see, Ashmolean Museum Oxford – MS1514). Shortly after, a tragic end fit for a Marlowe play, Vanderdort had misplaced a portrait miniature, the sheer pressure and potential repercussions had led him to take his life. Later his executors located the miniature after his demise.