Majestic numismatics

On 05 November 2018, by Céline Piettre

This 15.26 g sovereign, whose obverse bears a portrait of an enthroned King Henry VII (1485-1509), is not the only highlight of this rich catalogue, which includes a triple-crowned Louis XV quarter écu (€50,000), a rare example of French royal numismatics. However, the coin boasts an illustrious provenance, having passed through the Evans and Lockett collections. John Evans’ archaeological career was overshadowed by that of his son, Sir Arthur, but he has gone down in numismatic history as one of its noblest representatives. Cyril Lockett’s collection, dispersed in London between 1950 and 1960, attracted the most knowledgeable connoisseurs, starting with the British Museum, which owns several specimens. Ours, estimated at €150,000, was struck during the reign of the Tudor dynasty’s founder. King Henry VII introduced the gold sovereign in 1489, three years after his victory over Richard III ended the War of the Roses, to show the world who was in charge. Worth one pound the first time it was minted, this prestigious coin was not struck on a regular basis until after 1816.

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