Elizabeth I (1558-1603), Fine gold Angel of ten shillings, Sixth issue (1582-1600), St Michael slaying dragon right, initial mark Bell (1582-83) both sides, legend surrounds ELIZABETH DG ANG FR ET HI REGINA. Rev, ship sailing right, large quartered shield, cross above with E and rose emblems flanking, legend reads A DNO FACTVM EST ISTVD ET EST:MIRABI, 5.17g (S.2531; N.2005; Schneider 786; Brown/Comber C25).
A marginally off centre striking with lustrous Tuscan Gold toning evenly distributed across the flan, competent depiction of St Michael with pleasing cross hatching around the leg areas and lower parts of the wings, blocky around the dragon. The inner toothed linear circles exceptional both sides, legends intelligible and consistently well struck with no real soft points. Reverse, completely centred and balanced in its arrangement, some of the normal softness to the waves and parts of ships rigging. About extremely fine for type, a rare mintmark for issue in Bell, seldom seen at auction or within dealers trays. Rare, an intriguing example.
Gold Angels, with their inception in Edward IV’s first reign continued to be issued right the way up to Charles I’s time, with Nicholas Briot’s pattern Angel being the great rarity known, three in private hands; more common examples presenting at auction or dealers trays as 10 shilling Angels, Royal touchpieces. The journey of the Angel saw a monetary fluctuation from 6s 8d right up to 11s, an important coin heavily collected in the hammered Gold English series, still enjoying a broad appeal today. The iconic and timeless design helped separate it from other contemporary pieces, distancing itself from the previous representation of the King in ship, with its medieval lofty nautical evocations; that had been in the popular consciousness since the second period Nobles of Edward III in 1344-46.
Legends translate to “Elizabeth by the Grace of God, Queen of England, France and Ireland” on the obverse, the reverse reading converts to “This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes,” which is Psalm 188, verse 23. It is often followed with verse 24 when heard in sermon, which is “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
A note on Saint or Archangel Michael slaying the Dragon, this is a depiction from the Book of Revelations the last book of the New Testament. The full verses are as follows, [Rev,12: 7-9] “And there was a War in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in Heaven. The great dragon was hurled down – that ancient serpent called the Devil or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.”