George III 1819 sovereign leads final Bentley auction at $288,765



2015-06-26 13:16:13

George III 1819 sovereign leads final Bentley auction at $288,765

The magnificent Bentley Collection was led by a 1819 George III sovereign by Pistrucci

The final part of the magnificent Bentley Collection of British Milled Sovereigns sold at Baldwin's on May 8, with a George III 1819 sovereign seeing strong bids.

The Bentley Collection 1819 Sovereigns It is not known why the sovereign was produced in such small numbers, or why the gold was supplied by private firms rather than the Bank of England

The coin is a classic rarity of the London series, and one of only around 10 thought to exist today. It sold for 186,000 ($288,765), meeting its 150,000-200,000 estimate comfortably.

The Bentley Collection example is the finest known in private hands, although a proof example is thought to exist. However, this proof is unknown to modern numismatics, having not been seen for over 70 years, since the "North Country Collector" sale in 1939.

The coin's rarity stems from the fact that only 3,574 were ever struck, a very small total that could easily have been managed in one day at the Royal Mint. However, for unknown reasons, they were actually produced over five instalments from August to November 1819, with the gold not supplied by the Bank of England as usual, but from private sources thought to be firms in the City of London.

It is known that the coins were put into circulation. However, the Mint conducted a survey of gold sovereigns in circulation in 1829 and managed to find 100 examples of each date from 1817 onwards, but only two from 1819.

May 8's Bentley Collection sale marks the end of a superb series of auctions that displayed some of the finest British coins seen at auction in recent times. See our reviews of part one and part two.

Collectors of British coins will want to view this fantastic William IV 1831 proof crown. A superb piece, this transitional rarity is a previously unrecorded variant, with legendary engraver William Wyon's signature corrected and re-engraved.

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