Elizabeth I (1584-6), Fine Sovereign, sixth issue, mm. escallop, crowned figure of queen enthroned facing, holding orb and sceptre, portcullis at feet, rev. shield of arms at centre of full-blown rose, wt.15.3gms. (S.2529; N.2003).
Almost extremely fine with a good portrait.
Ex St James’s Auction 10, 7 November 2008, lot 687.
The largest and most intrinsically valuable gold coin of the many issues of this reign, this was the jewel of Renaissance coinage, minted from nearly pure gold (.995 fine) and typically found with bent or wavy flans, often cracked and dented, because of the purity of the metal. While a coin such as this was never or rarely seen by the queen’s subjects other than nobility, it was a staple at Court and viewed by those abroad as emblematic of Elizabeth’s reign, in sharp contrast to the questionable and much unwanted money of the kingdom as it remained at the end of her father’s rule. Almost from the very beginning, the queen sought to restore her money to renown, and as Challis notes (A New History ofthe Royal Mint, page 248), ‘Elizabeth’s ‘notable convercion of the base monyes to the prestinat state of sterlings’ has rightly been regarded from her own day to this as an important achievement, one which,as Camden put it, ‘turned to her greater, yea greatest, glory’.