Elizabeth I (1558-1603), Ryal of 15 shillings, sixth issue (1583-1600) initial mark gothic unbarred A on reverse only. Elizabeth standing in ship sailing to the left, holding orb and sceptre, rose on hull, E on banner at bow, beaded borders both sides, legend surrounds ELI ZAB; D; G; ANG; FR; ET. H IB REGINA. Rev, rose on sun with a sunburst of sixteen rays, crown over lions in each angle, all within an elaborate tressure of eight arcs, trefoils in spandrels, initial mark A (1582-84), legend surrounds IHS; AVT; TRANSIENS. PER. MEDIV; ILLORVM. IBAT, 7.70g (N 2004; S 2530; Brown/Comber B2; Thompson O1/R1; Schneider 784). Extremely fine and extremely rare.
Ex Spink & Son, purchased December 1956
This is one of England’s most iconic gold coins and the single greatest numismatic rarity of the celebrated Elizabethan era. Only a few specimens were made, they are generally encountered in low grade, and this is the finest of the surviving pieces. A great opportunity for a connoisseur of the Tudor period to secure a highly sought after example.
Elizabeth’s coinage is particularly interesting on account of the large number of different denominations issued during her 45-year tenure. The Ryal was the rarest item and minted in exceedingly small numbers. It should be noted that there was no example of an Elizabeth I Ryal in the Millennia coin collection or the gold collections of Slaney, Norweb, Eliasberg, Dr Paul Broughton, or Samuel King. Catalogues at £65,000 in VF, unpriced in higher grades.
This Ryal was produced in the years 1584-1586, at the climax of Queen Elizabeth’s relatively lengthy reign. During this period England was starting to demonstrate its superior naval power and colonising what was eventually to become the United States of America.
In 1584 Walter Raleigh, always a court favourite, named the territory in North America Virginia in honour of Elizabeth, the ‘Virgin Queen.’ The colony of Virginia became the wealthiest and most populated British colony in North America and is the oldest English place name in the USA.